By John Anderson

RH White Construction operates from a large building on Central St., and with the acquisition of the Knights of Columbus property next door, they have even more space to heat, light and cool. RH White is the largest natural gas contractor in the northeast, so they are no stranger to NSTAR. RH White wanted to convert to natural gas for cheaper heating, but there is no service on Central St.

After getting some conditions from NSTAR, White approached the Town of Auburn which agreed to convert the Town Hall boiler if the line was in place. Residents on Central St. were also surveyed, and there was significant interest from them as well. RH White, the Town, and NSTAR had multiple meetings to knock out a stellar public/private partnership, and today construction is well underway.

Among other things, RH White is paying for the permits, complying with Dig Safe and doing the construction. NSTAR is supplying the materials, inspectors and pipe contractor. The Town is handling some police details, paving the road and redoing any sidewalks that are affected by the project.

Since Auburn is a Green Community, energy usage is a top priority. The Library has already been converted to natural gas, and officials are eyeing the Senior Center as another conversion. They currently have electric heat at the Goddard Dr. building. Town Manager Julie Jacobson told me, “We’re always looking at ways to reduce our energy costs.”

I stopped by on Central St. last week during the first day of pipe laying. I was told that 400 feet of pipe would be in the ground by the end of the day.
Great progress on a useful project.

Workers connect two sections of plastic pipe last Thursday. ©John R. Anderson

Workers connect two sections of plastic pipe last Thursday. ©John R. Anderson

The trench is cleaned up to receive the next sections of the natural gas pipeline. ©John R. Anderson

The trench is cleaned up to receive the next sections of the natural gas pipeline. ©John R. Anderson