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Push to get natural gas to more Vt. businesses - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Push to get natural gas to more Vt. businesses

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MILTON, Vt. -

Move over oil-- an empty plot of land in Milton could soon bring natural gas to businesses across Vermont.

"We're focused on large industrial and commercial customers," said Neale Lunderville of NG Advantage.

Wednesday, crowds braved the rain at the Catamount Industrial Park in Milton where NG Advantage broke ground on a new natural gas compressor station. The energy startup plans to tap into the abutting Vermont Gas pipeline, and then truck it to companies looking for an energy alternative.

"From here we'll be able to load our trailers with compressed natural gas and deliver it to customers who are not on the natural gas pipeline," Lunderville said.

Right now, Putney Paper Co. and Pike Asphalt are already on board for the natural gas option.

"In oil every year it goes up and up and up. It's quadruple what it was when I started in this business," said Frank Tarantino, the president of Putney Paper.

Estimates show the switch to natural gas could save businesses up to 40 percent on their energy bills. It's a driving factor that brought Tarantino on board.

"We use number 6 oil which is very expensive. This is going to save Putney Paper Company 120 jobs. We'll be more competitive in the marketplace," Tarantino said.

The move is getting bipartisan support-- Gov. Peter Shumlin and former Gov. Jim Douglas were both on hand making the case that natural gas was key to keep Vermont's economy moving forward.

"By giving large energy users an option to use natural gas, we can attract businesses from other places that are on pipelines," Lunderville said.

The new compressor station is slated to be up and running early next year.

Right now the effort is for businesses only; because the natural gas is delivered and dispensed from trailers, it is not fit for residential customers.

Executives say the natural gas prices will vary depending on how much is being used and where it is being delivered.

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