Cape Cod homeowners hoping to convert fuel systems from oil to natural gas have to several years before National Grid has the capacity, however it won't be as long as first projected, as told by National Grid officials to the Cape Cod Association of Realtors.
Company officials say right-of-way issues are 30% complete, and the permitting process will follow. Company officials estimate construction on new pipeline to the mid and lower Cape will begin in September of 2017 and be completed nearly two years later, in summer of 2019. New pipes will be placed three to five feet away from existing underground pipes, but in some cases, the new pipes will be across the street.
It was a routine check of supply lines late last year that lead the utility to place an immediate moratorium on new natural gas hookups in December. That decision reverberated through the Cape Cod home construction and real estate industries as potential homeowners were told they could no longer convert to natural gas for heating and cooking. The moratorium exists for Dennis, Harwich, Brewster, Orleans, Eastham and Chatham. Initially, the towns of Barnstable and Yarmouth were included as well, however in March, officials announced Barnstable and Yarmouth could begin new hookups after a lengthy review process, typically six to eight weeks instead of the usual three.
Homebuilders now recommend owners install propane fuel in new home construction, making the switch to natural gas an easy one when the gas supply to the mid and lower Cape is restored.