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So far, there’s been no rush of customers for natural gas

Posted: March 8, 2013 - 11:28am  |  Updated: March 8, 2013 - 11:35am

Enstar Natural Gas has chosen a contractor — Chumley Inc. of Sterling — to construct a trunk line to bring natural gas from Anchor Point to the southern Kenai Peninsula. The Homer City Council has voted to create a city-wide special assessment district within which will be built a natural gas distribution system. Kachemak City not only approved a similar scenario, but also is offering a rebate for residents signing up with Enstar.

With construction work scheduled to begin soon, what's missing? Users.

The fee to sign-up with Enstar is $1,290. To encourage early sign-ups and avoid a last-minute bottleneck, Kachemak City will write a $500 rebate to residents who sign up for natural gas with Enstar and submit to Kachemak City the paperwork proving they signed up.

"I don't know of anyone yet," said Phil Morris, mayor of Homer's neighboring city to the east. "I think that's because Enstar isn't ready for that yet, but we're ready to rebate when it starts."

Morris estimated momentum would begin picking up within the next couple of weeks.

The momentum already is gaining to identify a contractor to build Kachemak City's distribution system. A $1.5 million contract was approved by the city in January. Enstar is holding a pre-bid meeting for contractors interested in bidding on the project. It is scheduled for Friday.

"We're still working on the contract with the city of Homer," said John Sims, Enstar's manager of corporate communications and customer service.

According to Sims, Enstar has estimated about 3,000 potential natural gas users for this southern Kenai Peninsula project:

• Old Sterling Highway: 115

• Homer town center: 1,091

• Kachemak City: 318

• The Spit: 71

• Surrounding area (West Hill, East Hill, Kachemak Drive, etc.): 1.443

Videos detailing main line installation, service line installation and residential meter setting are available on Enstar's website, enstarnaturalgas.com

For information about what's needed to connect at specific locations or to sign-up for natural gas, Enstar can be contacted at the Homer office, 435-0642, or the Soldotna office, (907) 262-9334.

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at mckibben.jackinsky@homernews.com.

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