About 9 months after it was clear the proposed NED pipeline was being rejected by every community it would have impacted, Berkshire Gas Company imposed a moratorium on new and expanded service throughout its Eastern Divison (eight Franklin and Hampshire County towns). The Company claimed that only the Kinder Morgan pipeline could solve an occasional problem it had in delivering enough gas during times of high peak demand, which occur only a few hours or days in each heating season.
One year after NED was cancelled, the moratorium in Amherst, Deerfield, Greenfield, Hadley, Hatfield, Montague, Sunderland, and Whately continues. Berkshire continues to claim that only a major infrastructure project that would flood the Pioneer Valley with twice as much methane (“natural”) gas as we currently consume can cover enough peak demand to admit new customers.
Yet, Berkshire’s own projections show that peak demand without a moratorium would only increase 1 percent to 2.5 percent a year. The Company filed this data in the current Mass. Dept. of Public Utilities (DPU) review of the Company’s Five Year Forecast and Supply Plan (DPU docket 16-103). By insisting that only a project supplying five to 10 times that level of demand be approved, Berkshire shows that its plan is to aggressively recruit more customers, especially businesses, into a long-term dependence on this fossil fuel.