July 16, 2013

Maine Natural Gas withdraws its Augusta bid

The company says that the posting of bids online gave unfair advantage to its competitor.

By KEITH EDWARDS Kennebec Journal

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

In this July 2 file photo, workers lay gas pipes in Augusta for Maine Natural Gas. In an open letter to the Augusta City Council on Tuesday, Maine Natural Gas announced it is withdrawing its proposal to provide city property, including schools, with gas and will focus on expanding its system throughout the city.

Staff File Photo

Eric Conrad, spokesman for the Maine Municipal Association, said he could not comment specifically on when bid results would typically be released to the public, because each has its own specific language.

"RFPs obviously become public at some point," he said.

On Tuesday, Hucko elaborated on the decision to withdraw.

"We decided to exit this process out of frustration that the deck was stacked against us in a number of ways," Hucko said. "In walking away from this dispute with the city, it's taking away a distraction and allowing us to get pipeline completed and get gas to customers."

The company also alleges city officials, the day after company officials raised concerns about the bid process, expressed reluctance to proceed with an easement city councilors approved last week to allow Maine Natural Gas' pipeline to cross under the Kennebec River and through city-owned parks on both sides of the river, to provide service to the west side. The line is coming in from Windsor, to the east of the city.

Maine Natural Gas had agreed to pay the city $50,000 for the easement.

The firm said canceling the easement could threaten Maine Natural Gas' ability to deliver gas to the MaineGeneral Medical Center hospital under construction in north Augusta and the University of Maine at Augusta.

 

Keith Edwards can be contacted at 621-5647 or at:

kedwards@centralmaine.com

 

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