A packed room of Mesquite business people heard a presentation from officials at Southwest Gas Corporation Tuesday, Sept. 27 about the possibility of bringing natural gas service into the community.
The current push to extend the service stems from passage of Nevada Senate Bill 151 that restructures the upfront investment costs which previously made the pipeline too expensive to build.
Amy Timperley, Regulatory Manager for Southwest Gas, said the Bill provides her company a way to finance its investment costs over time and allows the Public Utility Commission of Nevada (PUCN) to consider a variety of methods to pay for the pipeline.
Timperley said SB 151 gives the company policy support to provide new services as long as they are consistent with expanding or enhancing economic development in a particular location. The company is looking at several other projects in addition to the one proposed for Mesquite including the Faraday Future project in the Apex industrial park outside of North Las Vegas.
Southwest Gas supervisor for Energy Solutions, James Stein, told the audience that going forward with the pipeline must be a collaborative effort between his company and the local community to determine the number of businesses and households that would either convert to natural gas or initially install it in new projects.
Stein said that so far the company had received about 500 responses from households and 30 from businesses to its online survey. He encouraged the attendees to complete the survey or talk to him directly for more commercial and industrial input.
Timperley couldn’t provide a timeline for potential completion saying that these kinds of projects are very complicated applications. She did say that once the company submits an application to PUCN, it has about seven months to review it and either approve or deny the project.
She said the company has done some very high level projections of costs to construct the pipeline from the existing Kern River pipeline into Mesquite. Depending on whether they tap into the pipe from the north or the south, costs vary between $20 million and $38 million. “That’s just to get the high pressure line to the city,” Timperley said. “Then you have the cost of the backbone from our facility to users.”
“But that’s the beauty of SB 151,” Stein said. “We don’t have to require anyone to come up with all that money up front.”
“We can’t make any promises on service costs,” said Michael Cooper, Southwest Gas Key Account Management Supervisor. “It all depends on approval from the PUCN.”
Stein said they are interested in economic development opportunities the availability of natural gas will have on future companies locating in Mesquite. “We’ve heard from George Gault [MRBI CEO] about businesses who wanted to locate here but didn’t because of the lack of natural gas. We will look at that and include it in our application.”
“In order to evaluate our options and layout, we need feedback from you,” Cooper said. “We need to know our potential load and demand.”
Timperley added to that saying “this is not just a ‘build it and they will come’ proposal. Not having good information and projections makes it challenging. The feedback and information we get are the keys to success with our filing with the PUCN.”
Please note that if you own a home and a business you may take this survey twice to capture information for each. Link to online survey: https://survey.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_81zuTeAqFqswzFH
By completing this interest survey you are not required to receive natural gas service from Southwest Gas if service becomes available in your area. This survey is for informational purposes only. Information provided in this survey may be used in a future regulatory proceeding before the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada.