More Cost Increases In Vermont Gas Pipeline Plan

Aug 1, 2014

Vermont Gas Systems is again alerting regulators about cost increases related to the natural gas pipeline the company hopes will bring service to Rutland.

On Friday, less than a month after telling the Vermont Public Service Board about a $35 million cost increase in Phase 1 of the project, the company is telling the board that Phase 2 will also be above the cost the company originally planned on - to the tune of $10 million.

Phase 1 is the section of pipeline - approved by the Public Service Board in December - that will run from Colchester to Middlebury. Phase 2 is planned to run under Lake Champlain to an International Paper facility in Ticonderoga, N.Y.

"So it’s a total increase of 15.4 percent," said spokesman Steve Wark. "So it went from a filing cost of $64 million to $74 million, which is an increase of 15 percent, and 96 percent of that increase is paid for by International Paper."

International Paper will pay for all but a few small structures and some changed piping on the Vermont side of the lake, but the increase could fuel concerns at the Department of Public Service that the project isn't being managed well.

As with the Phase 1 increases, Wark attributed the newly-announced cost increase to rising pipeline construction costs nationwide.