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Town hall meeting to explore gas line extensions in Penn Township

| Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, 5:18 p.m.

About 500 homes in the Claridge and McCullough neighborhoods of Penn Township could soon have the option of using natural gas.

Peoples Natural Gas will host a town hall meeting on a gas line extension planned for that area at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in the municipal building on Municipal Court. The project would cost more than $2 million.

Residents who want to tap into the gas line would only have to pay to prepare their homes for gas service, said Luke Ravenstahl, business manager for Peoples Natural Gas.

“The only real responsibility of the homeowner would be to convert their appliances and their home to prepare for the natural gas,” Ravenstahl said.

Ravenstahl, the former mayor of Pittsburgh, said previous plans for line extensions included a cost charged to the homeowner for the line construction. After a negative reaction to those plans, changes were made for future projects.

The Claridge and McCullough area was chosen because residents in that area already expressed interest in switching to gas. A nearby gas line also made the project cost effective, Ravenstahl said.

Township Manager Alex Graziani said the company has received the approvals it needs for the project. Ravenstahl said construction could begin within the next several months.

Upgrading homes could cost as much as $7,000 depending on what appliances and equipment are needed. Ravenstahl said financing options will be available for those interested.

Though the cost may give some residents pause when considering a conversion, Ravenstahl said the company hopes to convince people it is worth the price.

“The cost of natural gas is lower, the convenience is there,” Ravenstahl said. “It's reliable and it's really an investment.”

Tom McGee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-2867 or tmcgee@tribweb.com.

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