No access to natural gas frustrating, say residents

Some residents in the Halifax Regional Municipality are asking why they can't access Heritage Gas natural gas lines one street over from their houses.

Don Melanson owns a property on Banook Avenue in Dartmouth, just a stone's throw from Crichton Avenue where a gas pipeline serves homes.

Melanson said when he called Heritage Gas in the spring of 2011, he was told it wasn't viable.

"To have it available so close by and not being able to get it is very disappointing," he said.

Wendy Krkosek, who lives on Charles Street in Halifax is in the same situation as Melanson. She wants natural gas because it's cheaper and more environmentally friendly.

Krkosek said she has been emailing Heritage Gas for about two years.

"I always get the same form letter back that basically says they don't have any plans to expand into our area because it's not economically feasible,' she said.

Krkosek recently had to upgrade her heating system. She made the upgrade with a unit that uses oil, but that can be converted to natural gas if and when the time comes.

She's doing her best to ensure that is sooner rather than later, dropping off letters to everyone on the street, asking them if they're interested in natural gas. So far, six people have said yes.

"I think it's quite sad I have to do the marketing, I mean they're going to be taking my money so why should I have to chase them to take my money?" she asked.

"I come from Ontario where every small town has natural gas so I don't really understand where the break down is or what the issue is."

Hertiage Gas CEO Jim Bracken said he finds the situation frustrating as well.

Bracken said the amount of rock in Halifax makes pipeline installation very expensive. He said the company must generate enough revenue from new customers to justify the cost of installation.

In 2011, Heritage Gas requested a rate hike to cover the cost of putting in natural gas pipelines around Nova Scotia.

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