Natural gas taking off in Carroll County
Officials say interest in new service is very high
By Allen Worrell Editor
Business is taking off quickly for Carroll County’s new natural gas line.
Earl Hagee, Carroll County’s Natural Gas Pipeline Manager, told the Carroll County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) on Dec. 4 that the county’s new gas line has already saved several industrial customers significant amounts on their power bills. Interest in the service is high in the community, he said, and the county will be able to utilize a state-of-the-art system to maintain the gas line.
“We are more and more in exciting times I feel like,” Hagee said. “We are getting more and more calls of people interested in natural gas.”
He said a new SCADA system would be installed soon that will allow the county to monitor all units of the system and to send alerts straight to him and his assistants.
“It is state-of -the-art stuff. It’s going to come straight to our smartphones,” Hagee said. “We can actually answer whatever kind of alarm it is. We can answer it and cancel if we know it is just the pressure getting a little too high or a little too low. If we know it is not a big emergency we can actually cancel the alarm out, so it’s very exciting.”
Hagee said Classic Creations, the new screen printing facility bringing 55 jobs to Hillsville, was hooked up to the system on Dec. 3. Company officials told Hagee they would be in full production by December 9.
“And without natural gas they wouldn’t be here, so it is exciting to see them and they are excited, too,” Hagee said. “And just get ready, it is going to explode here shortly.”
County Administrator Gary Larrowe joked that perhaps explode was not a good word to use to refer to a natural gas line. IDA member Barry Hicks asked Hagee about residential interest in natural gas service.
“It’s going to be booming,” Hagee said. “We are getting a lot more calls and we are not even advertising yet. This is word of mouth right now.”
Hicks said he knew natural gas was already making a huge difference at the Carroll Wellness Center.
“It has cut the bill down,” Hicks said. “They were talking about it at the last meeting that we are paying 60 percent of what we were paying propane.”
Hagee said Barkers Microfarads of Hillsville is experiencing the same thing.
“They are right between 55 to 60 percent of where they were at,” Hagee said.
Larrowe said the equipment Carroll County is utilizing for its natural gas line is the “latest and greatest equipment in the state of Virginia.” Hagee added that the SCADA system Carroll will be installing is so advanced it is only currently in use by two other gas companies – Columbia Gas, which has over 600,000 customers, and B&G Gas, which is next to the coast.
“I am really excited about it.”
The natural gas project consists of approximately 22,000 linear feet of six-inch line that serves Mohawk Industries in Hillsville, as well as an interconnection to a main interstate gas line and a town border station.
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