Pipeline partnership to expand natural gas services

By Kelly McCarthy

March 18, 2014 Updated Mar 18, 2014 at 6:26 PM EDT

Sidney, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A proposed natural gas pipeline through the Southern Tier could give homes and businesses more choices.

Constitution Pipeline is still waiting for federal approval, but already announced a partnership in Delaware County.

A team made up of Constitution Pipeline and Leatherstocking Gas Company has a vision to bring natural gas services to local towns and businesses.

"It's a substantial competitive disadvantage to the area," said President of Leatherstocking Gas Co. Michael German, "So it's an opportunity for us to come in with natural gas and it's an opportunity for the area to get natural gas service."

The General Manager of Amphenol Aerospace said having the option of natural gas could keep them competitive.

"Right now our choices are propane gas or heavy oil delivered to the house," said General Manager of Amphenol Aerospace Rick Aiken.

The Constitution Pipeline is a proposed 125 mile long pipeline that would transfer natural gas from northern Pennsylvania to parts of New York State.

"It's a shame that people who are so close to it can't have access to it and can't take advantage of that economical fuel source," said Constitution Pipeline spokesperson Chris Stockton, "And the reason why is that we don't have the infrastructure in place."

If the Constitution Pipeline is approved, Amphenol would be one of the four tap locations, meaning natural gas would come directly to the facility.

"It means millions of dollars in savings which makes us more competitive," Aiken said, "and obviously allows us the chance for more jobs. The more business we win the more people we hire it's pretty simple."

Aiken estimates switching to natural gas would save Amphenol $1.5 million a year, which is enough money to protect 33 jobs at the manufacturing corporation.

"We're competing with people who primarily have natural gas available to them," Aiken said, "it's very unusual to not have natural gas energy available in an area."

Amphenol will be opening up a new facility in May since the 2011 flood damaged the original building in Sidney. Aiken said the new facility will secure nearly one thousand jobs.

If approved, construction of the pipeline could start in January 2015 and there could be natural gas flowing into Delaware County later that year.