Berkshire Gas Co. this month launched a program that could make its Western Massachusetts service territory less dependent on the very fossil fuels it sells.
The natural gas utility on Dec. 5 announced $1 million in "alternative heating" grants to help eight communities affected by Berkshire's longstanding moratorium on new or expanded energy service.
The company in 2014 and 2015 imposed the bans on new service, citing pipeline constraints -- and recently said it had abandoned any immediate plans to lift the moratorium. The company deemed that building new pipeline or liquefied gas storage to serve the area would be too expensive.
In announcing the grant, Berkshire invited the towns of Deerfield, Greenfield, Montague, Sunderland, Whately, Amherst, Hadley and Hatfield to send their proposals to the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, or DOER.
"Recognizing the challenges imposed by the moratorium, Berkshire Gas sought the opportunity to support jobs and economic development through the alternative heating program," the company said in a news release. (read more)
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