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Estimated average Southwest Gas bill

Southwest Gas Corp. presented a chart of surcharges that would come as a result of the proposed expansion of natural gas services to the Spring Creek area. 

SPRING CREEK – Work could begin on expanding natural gas into the Spring Creek area in a matter of months if the state Public Utilities Commission approves the project in January.

Debra Gallo of Southwest Gas Corp. updated the Spring Creek Association board of directors about the status of installing the natural gas pipeline this week. She stated the company was hoping to go to work Jan. 10 if the PUCN approves the project on Jan. 9.

“We will start Jan. 10 because we are ready to start as soon as we get that [approval],” Gallo said.

“What we would begin with is the installation of high-pressure along Lamoille Highway, probably coming both ways,” Gallo said. “In addition to working in neighborhoods, that would be our number one priority.”

Southwest Gas is working with the Nevada Department of Transportation to obtain a permit, Gallo explained, adding that the company has reached out to the Bureau of Land Management because the project would cross federal land four times.

The update also clarified some issues Gallo said the company has heard regarding the cost of the project.

“This is not something the association is doing, so residents won’t be paying the association anything to do with bringing natural gas in,” she said.

Homeowners living in the Spring Creek Association and other neighborhoods along the Lamoille Highway will have a choice on whether to have natural gas installed at their residence.

Residents who reject natural gas will not be charged by Southwest Gas if they choose not to accept the utility.

“If you don’t take natural gas when we get it here and we start coming down your street, then you won’t pay,” Gallo said.

An average monthly bill for northern Nevada customers outside of the Spring Creek expansion area is estimated at $72.32, which includes a 98-cent local area expansion surcharge.

Elko District customers could be charged $2.55 a month, and Spring Creek customers a $33.50 monthly surcharge.

“That is designed to collect $7.8 million,” Gallo said, adding that the surcharge would remain in place until the amount is collected, which the company figured to take approximately 20 years.

Gallo also informed the board that Southwest Gas has met with several broadband providers who are showing interest in laying fiber optic cable while the trench is open.

However, the company will not favor one company over another.

“It’s my understanding we have room for more than one,” Gallo said. “[The broadband company] would be responsible for keeping track of it. It is an option, but we don’t have anything firm with anybody.”

Hearings on the application are scheduled for Nov. 19 and 20 in Carson City before the PUCN.

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Courts, K-12 schools & Spring Creek reporter

Staff writer for the Elko Daily Free Press

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