June 24, 2019

Vermont Gas pipeline costs jump yet again

Don Rendall, president and CEO for Vermont Gas, announced a cost increase to build a natural gas through Addison County at the company’s South Burlington headquarters in December 2014. Photo by John Herrick/VTDigger

Don Rendall, president and CEO for Vermont Gas, announced a cost increase to build a natural gas through Addison County at the company’s South Burlington headquarters in December 2014. Photo by John Herrick/VTDigger

By Anne Galloway

For Vermont Digger

Vermont Gas announced this week that a 41-mile natural gas pipeline extension through Addison County will cost an additional $12 million, or 7.8 percent more, than anticipated. The latest estimate pegs the total cost at $165.6 million, or nearly double the original expected cost.

It’s the fourth time Vermont Gas has upped the price tag. The company, a subsidiary of Montreal-based Gaz Metro, originally told state regulators that the cost of the project would be $87 million.

Vermont Gas is seeking permission from state regulators to increase the cost and filed a letter with the Vermont Public Service Board on Tuesday explaining why the project is running over budget. Company officials say most of the additional money would be for unexpected construction costs. Vermont Gas will submit more detailed filings with the board in mid-July.

The company says about $4.5 million of the additional costs are due to unanticipated construction costs for the pipeline. Of that amount, $525,000 is due to “interference” from protesters and eminent domain proceedings. The remaining $5.6 million is for a contingency fund.

Observer courtesy photo by Mike Polhamus/VTDigger  Protesters hold a banner while disrupting a planned Public Service Board hearing last Thursday in Colchester related to the Vermont Gas pipeline.

Observer courtesy photo by Mike Polhamus/VTDigger
Protesters hold a banner while disrupting a planned Public Service Board hearing last Thursday in Colchester related to the Vermont Gas pipeline.

Don Rendall, the CEO of Vermont Gas, says contractors for the company have had to blast more rock and ledge in the right of way corridor than anticipated. It has also been more expensive than anticipated to drill around environmentally sensitive areas, he said.

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