Order to authorize the Town Manage to issue a request for proposal (RFP) that would seek proposals to expand natural gas distribution into Falmouth, Cumberland and Yarmouth.
ACTION: Council action is anticipated.
The Town Council met in joint session this summer with the town councils from Cumberland and Yarmouth to discuss whether there was support to expand natural gas distribution throughout the communities. At that meeting the town councils agreed to have the town managers conduct addition feasibility analysis through hired consultants.Subsequent to this joint meeting of the town councils, three natural gas utilities contacted the town managers and expressed greater interest in a natural gas expansion project in the three communities. We met with representatives from all three utilities throughout the summer. We decided that it is no longer necessary to spend additional money for feasibility analysis.
We now believe that there is enough interest with the utilities to rely on them to conduct the feasibility analysis for their individual business models. We therefore agreed that an RFP (attached) requesting proposals for a partnership with a private utility is more appropriate.
The RFP will not commit the utilities to anything nor will it commit the towns to anything other than an agreement to cooperate with each other moving forward. There could be a scenario where one utility wins our confidence and willingness to create a partnership while another utility decides to proceed without our cooperation. Or, the utilities not chosen by the towns could decide to observe the processs and wait to take any further action. In any event, we believe the next step should include gathering more information which is consistent with the direction offered by the town councils.
The RFP is a simple and more focused method of gathering feasibility information without the towns spending the money. We do think that there will be some expenses for legal consultation¬† and peer review of the feasibility of the proposals.
We also expect that there will need to be a public outreach and input opportunity. We anticipate there will be public interest on matters ranging from energy cost savings and fuel efficiency to concern for why there should be support for another fossil fuel.