Overview of the Project
In mid-2014, Liberty Utilities approached the Village of Pittsburg to inquire about buying their natural gas utility system. Pittsburg is a small rural community located near Harrisburg IL, where Liberty owns and operates another natural gas utility system.
The Village of Pittsburg needed to update and replace their current Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) gas utility system. With a limited number of employees and in need of repairs, the town wanted a solution that would increase the integrity of their system while maintaining affordable rates for Pittsburg.
In the fall of 2014 Pittsburg found the answer they desired, and a contract was signed with Liberty Utilities. Approval for the acquisition from the Illinois Commerce Commission came at the end of July 2015. Liberty Utilities began the process of working with the Village of Pittsburg, and acquiring the natural gas system that served approximately 150 residential and commercial customers.
The entire acquisition start-to-finish totaled 10-12 months, with the majority of time being spent working with the Illinois Commerce Commission to ensure a smooth transaction for both organizations and the residents involved.
Within the first year, Liberty replaced all the meters in Pittsburg, roughly 175. In addition, the new meters were up-graded with Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) capabilities, allowing for compatibility with future improvements.
On-going, and to be completed within five years, Liberty Utilities will replace the entire PVC system, totaling roughly 40,000 feet of pipe, with Polyethylene (PE) pipe. This will improve system integrity, safety and reliability. As of January 2017, Liberty has completed a quarter of the total replacement, while maintaining reliable natural gas service for Pittsburg customers.
Since the completion of the acquisition, customer rates have also decreased under Liberty Utilities.