Summit Natural Gas of Maine is cutting 21 jobs, mostly from its Augusta office, as it adjusts to the Maine market, the company announced in a news release Friday.

The company said it is “adjusting its workforce” to better meet the needs of Maine consumers and provide gas in the state.

In an interview Friday, company spokeswoman Lizzy Reinholt said Summit’s workforce would be reduced from 80 to 59.

In a news release earlier, Kurt Adams, CEO and president of Summit Utilities Inc., said, “Summit is committed to providing access to clean-burning, affordable natural gas to our customers in Maine and increasing the number of families and businesses we serve. As a result, we continue to adjust our workforce as our experience throughout the state grows and market conditions change.”

The company is cutting 13 positions, and another eight are being laid off from its gas conversion affiliate. All but four of the cut positions were in the company’s Augusta office, and many were sales jobs, she said.

All affected workers will be offered severance pay, she added.

In August, the company said it was reducing its planned build-up in the Kennebec valley, partly because of reduced demand for natural gas conversions because of the low price of home heating oil.

Reinholt on Friday said that a number of different factors went into Summit’s decision to cut its workforce. The company is getting to know the Maine market better and thinks it can reduce the number of employees it has and still grow.

“This is really just a reorganization and readjustment,” Reinholt said. The layoffs are permanent, but the company would like to rehire employees in the future, she added.

In 2013, Summit started construction of a main transmission pipeline from Pittson to Madison. Since then, it has installed 214 miles of distribution pipeline in communities in the Kennebec valley and Portland suburbs in Cumberland County.

The company has had to deal with setbacks and problems with regulators and contractors. In 2015, it was required to inspect and replace faulty equipment on transmission and residential distribution lines that had been installed incorrectly by contractors and might still face fines from the Maine Public Utilities Commission.

House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe, D-Skowhegan, said in a news release Friday that he knows some of the workers who will lose their jobs.

“These job losses underscore how important it is for those of us in the Legislature to put aside our differences and come together to grow the economy and good-paying jobs so working Mainers can build a life for their families and their children’s futures,” he said.

In its news release Friday, the company said it intended to grow its network and invest in Maine despite the recent workforce reduction. It plans to install 90,000 feet, about 17 miles, of distribution pipe in 2016, the company said.

“Natural gas is a safe, affordable and environmentally friendly heating source for Maine consumers,” Adams said in the release. “We continue to invest in Maine and will do everything we can to support our employees and look forward to the day when we can put them back to work.”

Peter McGuire — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @PeteL_McGuire

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