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Board OKs resolution supporting natural gas main extension in twp.

by Susan Bromley

March 07, 2012

Brandon Twp.- The township board has adopted a resolution giving formal support to Consumers Energy's plan to extend natural gas mains here.

The board voted 4-2 to adopt the resolution. Supervisor Kathy Thurman, Treasurer Terry Beltramo and Trustees Dana DePalma and Tom Stowell voted yes. Trustees Cheryl Gault and David King voted no. Clerk Jeannie McCreery was absent.

King said at the meeting while he supported Consumers offering the service to residents, he wouldn't support a formal resolution from the township, since it is not necessary and constitutes government involvement in a private enterprise. Gault expressed concern over the harm to local propane business.

Supervisor Kathy Thurman said the resolution was simply a way for the township to express their support of the project.

"I'm very excited we are able to offer the opportunity to hook up to natural gas to the residents who are not currently able to," she said.

The resolution states the township supports the continuation of the gas mains for reasons including: natural gas saving money compared to alternative fuel; Consumers will provide financing to residents at a rate of 8.06 percent over a 10-year period (for the gas main contribution, not to exceed $4,000 per resident); and Consumers will provide 333 feet of service footage at no charge with additional service footage being charged at a rate of $8.84 per foot.

Consumers Energy is proposing installation of gas mains in the township in three phases. Overall, the project would offer service to 2,000 occupied structures, one-third of residences in the township. Consumers currently has gas main infrastructure in a limited area in the township.

The first phase of the project would be offered to 500 residences on Allen Road, Brandon Lane, Breezewood and Breezewood Court, Burris Road and Burris Court, Cook Trail, Harmony Lane, Ingles Lane, Kathleen Lake Drive, Lakeview Trail, Laughing Wolf Lane, Little Lake Road, Marsh Lane, McNaughton, Oakbrook Drive, Osprey Ridge, Reese Road, Sarah's Way, Sashabaw Lane, Sashabaw Road (south of Granger), Seymour Lake Road (east of Perry Lake Road), Shady Lane, Sherwood Road and Sherwood Court, a portion of Stanton Road, Thornridge Trail, Victorian Lane, and Wooley Road.

In order for gas lines to be installed, Consumers must have at least 50 percent participation from residents in the first phase in order to proceed with the project.

Consumers Energy Customer Attachment Program Manager Dan Jones said the equivalent cost of natural gas against propane is 89 cents per gallon. With the suggested retail price of propane at $2.40 per gallon, a homeowner using 1,600 gallons of propane per year would pay $3,840. By comparison, a homeowner using the same amount of natural gas would pay $1,424, a savings of $1.50 per gallon and $2,416 annually.

Consumers Energy is sending letters this month to township residents who could be included in the first phase of the project. A meeting with these residents is set for 7 p.m., April 10, at the Brandon High School Performing Arts Center, 1025 S. Ortonville Road, at which connection fee deposits of $200 will be accepted, signaling participation in the project. If the 50 percent participation is not reached, all deposits would be refunded. A second meeting for 7 p.m., April 26, also at the BHS PAC, is also planned.

Gas main installation could begin this spring and be completed by Christmas.