Chesapeake Utilities Signs Agreements With Beebe Medical Center and SPI Pharma for Natural Gas Service in Lewes, DE

Mar 15, 2011, 16:15 ET from Chesapeake Utilities Corporation

DOVER, Del., March 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Chesapeake Utilities Corporation (NYSE: CPK) today announced that its Delaware natural gas division has signed agreements with Beebe Medical Center and SPI Pharma, both located in Lewes, Delaware, to provide natural gas service to their facilities. "Chesapeake Utilities has been working steadily to 'reach the beach' with clean-burning natural gas for more than ten years," said Jeffrey R. Tietbohl, Vice President of Chesapeake Utilities Corporation. "Commercial customers like Beebe and SPI Pharma are enabling natural gas service to be available sooner in the Five Points and Lewes areas," Mr. Tietbohl added. Chesapeake's intent is to be in a position to initiate natural gas service to these two customers during the upcoming 2011 fall season.  

Both service agreements are contingent upon the City of Lewes' approval of the franchise agreement for the City along with securing other necessary governmental permits and easements. The City Council has scheduled a public meeting on Tuesday, March 29, 2011 at 7:00 pm at Lewes City Hall for Chesapeake Utilities to provide more information about natural gas, the Company, and its interest in expanding to Lewes.  Representatives of the Company will be on hand to answer questions.  

"Natural gas is the environmentally and economically smart fuel choice," added Mr. Tietbohl. "There has been a strong level of interest in bringing natural gas to this community for the past few years.  Both Beebe's and SPI Pharma's interests in bringing natural gas to their facilities were driven by the desire to utilize a cleaner burning, less costly energy alternative.  Both companies also recognize the benefits that natural gas would bring to the communities in and around Lewes," noted Mr. Tietbohl.  Providing natural gas service in Lewes and to the surrounding areas requires Chesapeake Utilities to extend its natural gas distribution infrastructure approximately twelve miles over the next several months from Harbeson, DE into Lewes, DE. This mainline extension will provide the foundation to serve new customers for many years. "We will be evaluating opportunities to extend service in and around the area to serve other customers. These opportunities will be evaluated based upon potential customers' needs and the economic feasibility of the extensions," Mr. Tietbohl added.  

The anticipated annual margin from the consumption of natural gas at Beebe's and SPI Pharma's Lewes facilities equate to approximately 1,000 residential heating customers.  In addition, the switch to natural gas will reduce both facilities' carbon emissions by over 15%.  In the last three years, the customers that have switched to natural gas in Sussex County have reduced carbon emissions by approximately 24,000 tons per year, equal to taking approximately 4,100 cars off the road.

As one of the fastest growing natural gas utilities in the country, Chesapeake Utilities is continuing to address the needs of customers in Sussex County, Delaware who are demanding natural gas because of its cost relative to alternative fuels as well as its environmentally friendly features. Over the last decade, Chesapeake Utilities' natural gas distribution division has introduced natural gas service to the Sussex County communities of Milford, Milton, Georgetown, Harbeson and Millsboro.  

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.

Founded in 1916 by two physician brothers, Drs. James Beebe and Richard C. Beebe, Beebe Medical Center is a 210-licensed-bed, not-for-profit seaside community hospital.  Beebe's specialized service lines include cardiovascular, oncology, women's health, and orthopedics. For more information, visit www.beebemed.org.

SPI Pharma is a leading supplier to the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, and animal health markets worldwide.  SPI is the global market share leader of antacid actives and delivers high quality, cost-effective products for liquid suspensions and antacid tablets to over 50 countries. The site in Lewes, Delaware is the only cGMP seawater based magnesium hydroxide manufacturer in the world. To learn more, visit www.spipharma.com.

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. Chesapeake Utilities' natural gas distribution operations serve approximately 120,200 residential, commercial and industrial customers in Delaware, Maryland and Florida. Information about Chesapeake's businesses is available at www.chpk.com.

For more information, contact:

Jeffrey R. Tietbohl, Vice President

Chesapeake Utilities Corporation

302.734.6797 / jtietbohl@chpk.com

SOURCE Chesapeake Utilities Corporation



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