WILTON, Conn. -- Gov. Dannel P. Malloy touted the benefits of natural gas as he and other officials gathered in Wilton on Monday to announce a major project that will enable businesses, schools, town buildings and some residents to connect to natural gas.
“This is a wonderful day for Wilton and a wonderful day for the state of Connecticut,” he said during a five-minute speech as he touted the economic benefits of cheaper natural gas. “We are getting Connecticut moving again. I’m proud of it, and I’m sure the legislative members are proud of what we are accomplishing.
"Bottom line: cleaner, cheaper more reliable energy helps build tomorrow’s economy.”
About 100 people gathered in front of Wilton Town Hall for the 11 a.m. ceremony.
Wilton is the first community in the state to partner with Yankee Gas through Connecticut’s Comprehensive Energy Strategy, which was approved by state regulators last year. The strategy calls for an expansion of the state’s natural gas distribution system to provide more residents and businesses with the opportunity to switch to natural gas.
Wilton First Selectman Bill Brennan praised the partnership created between the utility and the town.
“This project started over three years ago and had many challenges to overcome,” Brennan said. “It has evolved into a strong relationship with Yankee Gas -- one that I believe will directly benefit the Town of Wilton, its residents and our business organizations.”
In comments after the ceremony, Brennan said it’s estimated that the town will save about $400,000 to $450,000 per year in fuel by switching from oil to natural gas.
State Sen. Toni Boucher, R-26th District, and state Rep. Gail Lavielle, R-143rd District, both Wilton residents, praised the work of everyone in getting the project done. They also applauded the work of Brennan in pushing the project forward.
Natural gas will bring economic benefits to the state and to its residents, Northeast Utilities Chairman and CEO Tom Mays said.
“I can assure you this will save jobs in Connecticut and will put a lot of dollars back in the pockets of all of our citizens,” he said.
Northeast Utilities is the parent company of Yankee Gas, Connecticut Light & Power, NStar, Public Service of New Hampshire, Western Massachusetts Electric Co., and NU Transmission.
Malloy said there may be some price volatility with natural gas. But once a modern transmission system is built, it should ensure that the state receives a consistent supply of what he said will be a cheaper form of energy, he said.
Work in Wilton began Friday and is expected to be finished by the end of November.
State Sen. Bob Duff, D-25th District, Yankee Gas President Rodney Powell, and Robert Klee, commissioner of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, were also present at the event.
After the ceremony, Malloy and Brennan signed a section of 8-inch polyethylene pipe. The pipe was cut into two 4-foot-long sections, one of which will be placed inside the Town Hall. The other will be placed underground and be used as part of the main transmission line through the town.