Winnsboro bringing gas line to Ridgeway

RIDGEWAY – A quarter-million-dollar gas line project being undertaken by the Town of Winnsboro will bring natural gas to Ridgeway – and Winnsboro town hall wants to hear from residents and business owners who are interested in connecting to the new gas line.

“This is a request that the town council of Ridgeway has made, the mayor of Ridgeway has made, business owners and some of the residents have made,” says Winnsboro Town Administrator Jason Taylor, “and we’re glad to finally be able to move forward with this project to meet those requests that have been made.”

The work will be completed over the next year by Winnsboro town employees, Taylor says, starting with the main line, which will run roughly 5 miles along existing road right-of-way, and then continuing with the addition of smaller lines to connect homes, neighborhoods, and businesses where the is the most demand. 

“If you want gas service, please contact the Winnsboro town hall, and we would be glad to put you on the list to try to get you hooked up in the first phase,” Taylor says. “The most customers we have, that will dictate where we put lines, so if we have a neighborhood where a lot of people call, that’s where we’ll put a line; it’s very customer driven.”

For connections close to the road, it will be possible to run a line and install a meter at the home or structure, he says. For connections far from the road, such as down a long driveway, landowners may need to run additional pipe from the meter to connect their buildings.

Taylor says Winnsboro is one of few towns in South Carolina that have full-service utilities: water, sewer, gas, and electricity. Due to a gas allocation contract acquired years ago from a nearby pipeline, the town has a locked-in quantity of gas at a very low rate – and currently pays for storage of a lot more gas than its current utility customers use.

He expects that, with new customers added to the system, the investment in this gas line project will pay for itself in 4-5 years – and potentially in half that time if the availability of natural gas also prompts business growth in the area.

“We have a crematorium over there that wants the gas,” Taylor says, “and I think Ridgeway, with all the growth that’s coming – that should come associated with Scout [Motors] – they’re ground zero for growth, and so we want to try to get ahead of that growth.”

He says it’s often easier to put in utilities before large tracts of land are subdivided into lots – and adding more customers to the system can also help bring down rates because it spreads out the cost of operating the system among more customers.

“Gas is… the easiest of the utilities for us to expand. Water and sewer are, as far as DHEC regulations, very permit-intensive, and very engineering-intensive,” Taylor says. “To expand gas, for the most part my crews can go with a backhoe or a trencher, dig a hole, and start laying pipe.”

And, while providing an additional utility service to existing residents and businesses, he says it also opens opportunity for future development, which can generate revenue for the town in a variety of ways. “We’re always looking to try to grow our budget in a way that we can have more revenue to improve service,” Taylor says, “and the only way that you can grow and become more prosperous is not from higher fees or taxes or cutting services, but from growing – and so we’re

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