Sullivan County Democrat
Callicoon, New York
March 10, 2009 Issue
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Corning puts hold on franchise request

By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO — Corning Gas’ bid to gain natural gas delivery franchises in Monticello and the towns of Forestburgh and Thompson has been put on hold.
Corning’s vice president, Jerry Sleve, confirmed yesterday that the upstate company has asked each municipality to await a pending economic analysis.
It’s not, he insisted, a withdrawal from the area.
“We’re ready to go forward,” Sleve said. “We’re just not sure we can go forward with all of them.”
Corning already did a preliminary economic analysis which led company leaders to pitch a franchise agreement with the three communities.
Subsequent public meetings confirmed cautious interest, but Sleve acknowledged that the viability of the project lies in how many larger commercial customers will sign on to use gas – and at what rates.
“The real trigger to these franchises is the volume customers will use,” he remarked.
So for the next two months, Corning officials will be asking potentially large-volume customers about their interest in utilizing natural gas piped in from the Millennium Pipeline, some 10 miles southwest of Monticello.
Maps distributed to the involved municipalities show Corning’s line running from Forestburgh through Monticello to the Concord in Kiamesha Lake.
That’s not as far as NYSEG’s proposal to run a line all the way to the state prisons near Woodbourne, but as local officials have confirmed, NYSEG has had franchises in all three municipalities for nearly a decade yet has not started work.
Sleve said that’s not how Corning wants to do business.
“We would rather not have a franchise approved in a municipality until and unless we’re ready to go forward with it,” he explained.

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