The Carroll County Industrial Authority (IDA) agreed at its meeting May 5 to extend the natural gas distribution system to Water and Center streets in Hillsville to pick up more customers.
Andy Jackson made the motion to approve the extension, with the project cost not to exceed $30,000. The vote was unanimous.
It was noted that a lot of the expansion work would be handled by Carroll County employees.
Earl Hagee, natural gas pipeline and utility specialist, told the IDA that 10 customers are now hooked to the system and that he was receiving calls daily from potential customers.
Hagee said Mohawk is the largest customer, using about five million cubic feet a month.
Some of the other customers include the Carroll County Governmental Complex, Carroll County High School, and Classic Creations in the Carroll County Industrial Park. The new STEM Agriculture Lab under construction at the high school will also be hooked to the system after it’s completed.
Hagee said cost savings is the main reason people want to switch over. “It’s more economical than any other fuel.”
He said before a customer could hook to the system, their heating units would have to be altered so they can burn natural
gas. He pointed out that propane units are more easily changed over but some fuel oil furnaces were equipped with a burner unit that could be easily changed.
All customers will be charged an initial connection fee. A list of fees, including the cost per therm, is available by checking the Carroll County website, chillsnet.org.
Carroll now has the distinction of being the only county in the state to operate its own natural gas distribution system.
Anyone interested in receiving information on hooking to the system or has complaints can contact Hagee’s office on the second floor of the Carroll County Governmental Center in Hillsville or call (276) 730-3031. The office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.
In other action:
* The IDA approved the sale of 5.8 acres to Blue Ridge Concrete off U.S. 221 at the entrance to Magnolia Manufacturing. Blue Ridge has been operating a concrete plant operation on the property for the past several months. Blue Ridge also operates a plant on U.S. 52 in Cana.
* IDA members Barry Hicks and Larry Chambers were appointed to serve on a committee with County Administrator Gary Larrowe to study the future of the natural gas distribution System.
* The next regular meeting of the IDA is set for Monday, June 2 at 4 p.m. in the County Administrator’s conference room at the Carroll County Governmental Center.