No new natural gas hook ups until 2019

There will be no new natural gas connections on the Lower Cape for quite a while. A recent inspection of National Grid’s main transmission line revealed some deficiencies requiring upgrades that will take up to five years to complete. Meanwhile, the company has to reduce the pressure in the line. And that means no new demands from new customers. Existing customers and gas supplies are not affected.

The new hookup moratorium also impacts new construction and renovation projects in which a natural gas connection was part of the plan. Towns affected are Dennis, Yarmouth, Brewster, Harwich, Chatham, Orleans, Eastham and parts of Barnstable.

But wait – National Grid is making some exceptions, especially for existing customers who want to add a natural gas, emergency back-up generator or outdoor barbecue grill. These pieces of equipment are used mostly when overall demand for natural gas is low, so they will not increase the total demand on the system.

And there’s more good news. If you want to build or renovate on the Cape, there’s almost always a way to work around problems and get what you want without the wait.

Propane is a smart alternative to natural gas, at least as an interim solution. You can convert to natural gas later, after the moratorium expires, and use many of the same mechanical components. So your added cost for the conversion is not that much at all.

Bottom line: the moratorium on new natural gas hookups does not have to derail your construction or renovation plans or blacklist that house you love with oil or electric heat. Just be sure your first hookup is with a can-do problem solver vs. a builder with stock responses and off-the-shelf plans.