Gas Natural Inc. Announces Activation of First Phase of Loring Pipeline Conversion
Gas Natural Inc. (NYSE MKT: EGAS) ("Gas Natural" or the "Company"), a holding company operating local natural gas utility companies serving approximately 72,000 natural gas customers in seven states, announced that it has completed activation of the first 60 miles of its Loring Pipeline, north of Bangor, Maine. Gas Natural acquired a leasehold interest in the 189-mile Loring Pipeline which runs from Searsport to Limestone, Maine in September 2012. The Company plans to convert the entire formerly liquid pipeline to natural gas, avoiding the significant expense of laying new pipe.
"The Maine market is a key growth region for us. Activation of this first phase represents a significant milestone as we further penetrate this underserved market, giving us access to provide natural gas service to commercial, industrial and residential customers in the Lincoln, Maine region. Lincoln Paper and Tissue is now our anchor customer and we look forward to enabling businesses and homes in this region to realize the cost benefits of clean, energy efficient and readily abundant natural gas," stated Mr. Gregory J. Osborne, Gas Natural's President and Chief Operating Officer.
Gas Natural's position as one of the region's leading natural gas distribution companies and its ability to invest directly and via partnerships allows customers, who are presently using higher cost oil-based fuels, to have a more cost effective and reliable energy choice of clean-burning natural gas.
Separately, the Company noted that the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio ("PUCO") denied the Company's December 2013 Application for Rehearing of PUCO's November 2013 Opinion and Order in the Northeast Ohio Natural Gas Corp. and Orwell Natural Gas Company cost recovery cases ("PUCO Order").
Mr. Gregory Osborne commented, "Despite the denial of our rehearing application, we continue with the activities started in mid-2013 to vigorously implement the changes cited in the PUCO Order. Eric Weldele of the Cox Consulting Group has been helping us with these activities as well as fostering improved relationships with regulatory bodies. Additionally, we have engaged an executive search firm to secure a well-qualified Chief Compliance Officer for Gas Natural who will oversee all of our regulatory compliance activities on an ongoing basis. Accordingly, we are proactively addressing all of our needs in this area while we operationally focus on our growth opportunities."
About Gas Natural Inc.
Gas Natural Inc., a holding company, distributes and sells natural gas to end-use residential, commercial, and industrial customers. It distributes approximately 33 billion cubic feet of natural gas to approximately 72,000 customers through regulated utilities operating in Montana, Wyoming, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maine, North Carolina and Kentucky. The Company's other operations include interstate pipeline, natural gas production, and natural gas marketing. The Company's Montana public utility was originally incorporated in 1909. Its strategy for growth is to expand throughput in the Maine and North Carolina markets, while looking for acquisitions that are either adjacent to its existing utilities or in under saturated markets.
Safe Harbor Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
The Company is including the following cautionary statement in this release to make applicable and to take advantage of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 for any forward-looking statements made by, or on behalf of, Gas Natural Inc. Forward-looking statements are all statements other than statements of historical fact, including, without limitation, those that are identified by the use of the words "anticipates," "estimates," "expects," "intends," "plans," "predicts," "believes" and similar expressions. Such statements are inherently subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed. Factors that may affect forward-looking statements and the Company's business generally include but are not limited to the Company's ability to successfully integrate the operations of the companies it has recently acquired and consummate additional acquisitions, the Company's continued ability to make dividend payments, the Company's ability to implement its business plan, fluctuating energy commodity prices, the possibility that regulators may not permit the Company to pass through all of its increased costs to its customers, changes in the utility regulatory environment, wholesale and retail competition, the Company's ability to satisfy its debt obligations, including compliance with financial covenants, weather conditions, litigation risks, and various other matters, many of which are beyond the Company's control, the risk factors and cautionary statements made in the Company's public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and other factors that the Company is currently unable to identify or quantify, but may exist in the future. Gas Natural Inc. expressly undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement contained herein to reflect any change in Gas Natural Inc.'s expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.