Mesquite’s business and residential community members are encouraged to attend a consumer session held by the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada, which will listen to comments related to an application filed by Southwest Gas Corp., which is seeking authority to expand natural gas service to Mesquite.

The consumer session will be held in Mesquite on Wednesday, Feb. 28, at 1 p.m. in City Hall.

Southwest Gas is asking for authority to expand its gas infrastructure, recover costs of gas infrastructure expansion projects through alternative cost-recovery methodologies, and to expand its service territory to include areas located in Mesquite.

Public participation and comment on the application is an important part of the PUCN’s process.

According to Southwest Gas officials, line extension funding policies have worked against bringing natural gas service into Mesquite for years. Passage of Nevada Senate Bill 151 in 2015 changed all that. Previously, all costs of line extensions had to be funded up front making the multimillion-dollar investment nearly impossible. SB 151 allows for consideration of alternative cost recovery methods that may extend recovery costs over a number of years.

The company’s proposal includes a pipeline route that extends from the existing Kern River pipeline through Lincoln County on the north side of the city. The proposal that the PUCN is considering includes the installation of natural gas pipelines that loop around the city including Pioneer and Mesquite Boulevards and into Sun City Mesquite and the Mesquite Technology and Commerce Center.

PUCN has 210 days to act on the application filed on Nov. 3. Upon commission approval, Southwest Gas anticipates design and construction taking at least 24 months.

The company also proposed a virtual pipeline that will allow Southwest Gas to begin providing service while the permanent pipeline is under construction. The virtual pipeline would use compressed natural gas tanks in the interim.