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CPUC considers SW Gas decision

ANNE GROGAN, Sierra Sun

The California Public Utilities Commission is scheduled to decide today the final terms under which Southwest Gas will complete its gas-line installation project in Truckee.

The CPUC must consider the terms of three different proposals in making its decision.

Two of those proposals are greatly preferred by town officials over the third which was handed down by Administrative Law Judge Orville Wright in March of last year.

Wright’s decision would have Southwest Gas complete its project in Truckee under the terms of the original decision forged between the Town of Truckee and Southwest Gas in 1996.

Southwest Gas officials have stated that due to rocky terrain and construction principles in Truckee, the company would lose an estimated $40 million under the terms of the Wright decision.

The other proposals to be considered today are greatly favored over the Wright decision, both Southwest Gas and Town of Truckee officials have said.

The first of these, the Neeper decision, reflects the terms of an agreement reached between Southwest Gas and Truckee officials in early 1999.

The Neeper decision states that Truckee regions promised natural gas service under the original 1996 agreement will receive natural gas service.

The town’s compromise decision in this agreement states that Southwest Gas cost overruns will be partly paid by Truckee residents through the continuation of a 12.3 cent surcharge.

The third decision, the Duque decision, proposes two amendments to the Neeper decision.

The first of these amendments states that within two months of the yearly construction cycle’s completion, until the project has been finished, Southwest Gas must file a project status report with the CPUC.

The second amendment states that Southwest Gas will complete its Truckee project no later than Jan. 1, 2003.

The original completion date was set for Nov. 2003.

This amendment shortens the Southwest Gas project duration by one complete construction cycle.

Town council Jan. 26 authorized Mayor Maia Schneider to sign the two amendments to the Neeper decision as a means of indicating to the CPUC that the town is willing to accept either the Neeper decision or the amended Neeper decision, Town Manager Steve Wright said.

Southwest Gas will file a response to the CPUC stating that either the Neeper decision or the amended Neeper decision is acceptable, Southwest Gas Spokesperson Roger Buehrer said.

“Either decision is acceptable to us,” Buehrer said. “We want to build this project out as expeditiously as possible without unrealistic expense. The community and Southwest Gas have developed a wonderful relationship and we want that to continue.”


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