DOVER, Del., March 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Chesapeake Utilities Corporation (NYSE: CPK) announced today that it is exploring natural gas service to Worcester County, Maryland as a result of increasing community interest. "The people of Worcester County are asking for clean burning natural gas now because of its cost relative to alternative fuels, as well as its environmentally friendly features," said Stephen C. Thompson, Senior Vice President of Chesapeake. "We are currently assessing the economic viability of expanding our pipeline and distribution infrastructures. If deemed economically viable and pending any required regulatory approvals and franchise agreements, natural gas could be available in northern Worcester County by the end of 2011," Mr. Thompson added.
An extension of the Company's natural gas transmission pipeline would provide the foundation for expansion of a natural gas distribution network in the county. Chesapeake and its transmission pipeline subsidiary have a long history of providing safe, reliable service on the Delmarva Peninsula. "The Company is excited about the opportunity to provide the residents and businesses in Worcester County with a new energy alternative," noted Mr. Thompson.
Chesapeake Utilities is one of the fastest growing natural gas distribution utilities in the country and, along with its pipeline subsidiary, has been expanding natural gas from northern Delaware down Route 113 into southeastern Sussex County, Delaware over the last ten years. As part of a proposed 2011 pipeline expansion project, natural gas would be available in the towns of Dagsboro, Frankford, and Selbyville, DE, assuming all of the necessary governmental approvals are granted. Natural gas service would be available to customers in close proximity to the pipeline and distribution systems. In the future, these systems could be expanded as customer demand for natural gas grows.
Chesapeake continues to pursue opportunities to cost-effectively expand its natural gas transmission and distribution systems and has demonstrated its commitment to meeting the energy needs of the Delmarva Peninsula. Over the last decade, the delivery capacity of the Company's natural gas transmission pipeline has increased by about 120 percent. Chesapeake Utilities' natural gas distribution division has also introduced natural gas service to the Sussex County communities of Milford, Milton, Georgetown, Harbeson and Millsboro, DE. The Company's recent transmission and distribution systems' expansions lay the groundwork for future system expansions in these communities as customer demand grows.
Natural gas supplies nearly one-fourth (24%) of all energy used in the United States and is a highly reliable, domestic energy source serving over 64 million residential customers and over five million commercial enterprises in the United States. Natural gas is the cleanest fuel readily available on the market today. It is far more efficient, cost-effective and environmentally friendly than other alternative sources when used in the home for heating and cooking. The direct use of natural gas can help the United States reach its carbon reduction goals; and its abundance as a domestic resource means that our country has enough natural gas to last more than a century, making it the clean energy to meet tomorrow's needs.
Chesapeake Utilities' natural gas distribution operations serve approximately 120,200 residential, commercial and industrial customers in Delaware, Maryland and Florida. Eastern Shore Natural Gas Company, Chesapeake Utilities' natural gas transmission subsidiary, receives natural gas from three interstate pipeline systems in southeastern Pennsylvania and delivers natural gas through its 396-mile transmission pipeline to several distributors and industrial customers in Pennsylvania, Delaware and the eastern shore of Maryland. Chesapeake Utilities Corporation and its subsidiary, Eastern Shore Natural Gas Company, are not affiliated with Eastern Shore Gas Company, a company currently providing retail propane service in Worcester County.
Chesapeake Utilities Corporation is a diversified utility company engaged in natural gas distribution, transmission and marketing, electric distribution, propane gas distribution and wholesale marketing, advanced information services and other related services. Information about Chesapeake's businesses is available at www.chpk.com.
For more information, contact:
Stephen C. Thompson, Senior Vice President
Chesapeake Utilities Corporation
SOURCE Chesapeake Utilities Corporation