FARMINGTON — The University of Maine at Farmington has received notice from Summit Natural Gas of Maine that the company is unable to commit to providing natural gas to UMF by 2016, according to a statement released Friday.

“In light of Summit’s decision, UMF will continue to explore alternative energy sources in its commitment to find the most viable fuel supply for the needs of the campus and economic development of the region,” UMF President Kathryn A. Foster said in the release.

In August, Farmington Town Manager Richard Davis told selectmen the gas company would not be coming until at least 2016. A more detailed time frame for the line is expected by the end of October, he said at the time.

“It’s disappointing,” he added. “There have been a number of issues revolving around the project.”

The University needed to know, state Sen. Thomas Saviello, R-Wilton, said Friday.

Summit Natural Gas expressed interest in building a gas line from Jay to Farmington and south to Livermore Falls during a meeting with legislators and local town officials in December 2012. At the time, it suggested the potential for the line work to be done in 2014.

The university, along with Franklin Memorial Hospital, were identified as anchors needed for the line.

The UMaine System issued a request for proposals in early 2013, but it included a variety of alternative energy sources for several campuses and took longer than expected, Chip Gavin, director of facilities management for the UMaine System, told Farmington selectmen in October 2013.

The process was also confidential, preventing him from elaborating further or answering questions.

By that time, the project was not on Summit’s schedule for 2014.

“UMF was caught in the cross hairs,” Saviello said of the UMaine System process which kept UMF from jumping on board. “They did what they were supposed to do.” 

The university announced its intention to bring the gas line to the campus last December.

If re-elected Tuesday, Saviello said he intends to propose legislation to make the UMaine System’s request for proposals more transparent.

“The university will continue to engage community stakeholders as it pursues additional energy opportunities to further the goal of reducing its reliance on heating oil,” according to the release.

Saviello expected the group of local legislators and town officials will continue to pursue a gas line for the area.

Some officials, such as Farmington Selectman Ryan Morgan, see a gas line as a potential for Farmington’s growth. Lower energy costs may provide more opportunity for economic development, he previously said.

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.