National Grid Announces Moratorium on Natural Gas Hookups in Lower Cape

HARWICH – The gas company National Grid has announced a moratorium on gas line hookups for commercial and residential customers for several years as it upgrades equipment from the Town of Yarmouth out to Eastham.NaturalGas

The moratorium does not affect people who are already gas customers.

National Grid has about 100,000 customers on Cape Cod.

Cape and Islands State Senator Dan Wolf said the moratorium has created big problems for some people.

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The area with the moratorium usually has about 1,000 new hookups a year, according to National Grid spokesman Jake Navarro.

Though permitting and other issues could change the date of the moratorium, one date given for the completion of the project is 2019, a full five years away.

Cape and Islands State Senator Dan Wolf says that five-year wait is a problem for many people.

“We’re hearing from a lot of people who had planned to hook up and whose building plans were predicated on being able to hook up and who are already in the design to build phase of their projects. That is a concern. I think there needs to be a lot more dialogue with the utility,” he said.

Wolf said there is a possibility that the legislature can work with state officials in the Department of Public Utilities and the utility to speed up the permitting process for the new pipeline.

“I think in fairness to people who had planned to hook up, we really need to look for more flexibility from National Grid,” Wolf said.

Wolf said he found out about the moratorium in a meeting last week.

“Last week we asked to have a meeting with senior people there to talk to them. It was a huge surprise and the reason for the moratorium was also a big surprise, which is that the infrastructure that they thought they were purchasing when they purchased the infrastructure wasn’t what they thought it was,” he said.

Among the findings, Wolf said, is that some of the pipes were inadequate relative to the demand and some of the junction boxes and valves in the system are not what was expected.

“This is not a leak problem. This is a capacity issue,” Wolf said.