Summit Natural Gas of Maine is preparing to restart construction of its gas distribution network and is promising to install gas lines in front of 2,400 homes and businesses in 2015, the company said Wednesday.

Starting in April, contractors will resume work to lay hundreds of miles of gas lines in the Augusta area and in suburban towns north of Portland. The company said it will direct construction efforts to neighborhoods where residents and businesses have signed up for gas service.

“We have taken a hard look at our approach to construction and greatly improved our planning, oversight and scheduling process to ensure we meet the deadlines and commitments we make to the communities we plan to serve,” said Mike Tanchuk, Summit Natural Gas President, in a statement.

Last year, after promising to bring natural gas to sections of Cumberland, Falmouth and Yarmouth, Summit fell behind on its construction schedule, breaking promises to deliver gas service by November of December 2014 and angering homeowners who made costly plans to convert their heating systems to gas.

Summit said it has 3,000 customers under contract in the Augusta and Portland markets, but has not said how many people have gas flowing. Summit has paid $111,200 to a total of 389 customers – up to $250 per customer – in the Augusta area for breaking its promise of installing gas service by a guaranteed date, a provision required by the state Public Utilities Commission.

The utility has until March 5 to disclose the same figures for Cumberland, Falmouth and Yarmouth or make a legal argument against disclosign them. Many customers in the northern suburban towns had said they were promised gas service before the end of 2014, but did not receive service.


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