Enstar begins energizing lines in downtown

The ceremonial valve turning in July of a natural gas meter at South Peninsula Hospital drew a crowd of dignitaries, including Gov. Sean Parnell, but when gas actually flowed to two homes on Fairview Avenue, there was no fanfare. Last Friday, Enstar Natural Gas Co. crews turned the valves and started gas service to two homes on the Anchor Point-Homer 8-inch-diameter trunk line bringing gas to Homer.

Homer now has natural gas.

“We’re definitely burning gas over there right now,” said Matt Hambrick of AC General Contractor. “It’s happened.”

Hambrick and Tom Hall of Pioneer Land Company are in the middle of a project to develop lots in the Fairview Avenue area. Hambrick built a 3-bedroom, 1,450-square-foot home at 119 Fairview Ave. and helped a family renovate a lot and build a custom home at 437 Fairview near Karen Hornaday Park. The 119 Fairview Ave. home was built from scratch with natural gas plumbing and appliances, including a natural gas outdoor barbecue grill. That home is for sale with Bay Realty, Hambrick said.

The Anchor Point-Homer trunk line was energized — the term for filling a gas line with natural gas — late last month.

Business and home owners along the trunk line who applied for service, had service lines installed and had a working appliance and plumbing ready to receive gas could start requesting meter installation. That’s the last step in actually getting service to a building.

Homes along the Old Sterling Highway also have begun to receive service, said Enstar Natural Gas spokesman John Sims. As of Tuesday, six buildings in Homer have had meters set, he said.

Earlier this week on Tuesday, Enstar began energizing the smaller distribution lines feeding off the main trunk line and purging them of air. The process involves injecting the line with nitrogen, an inert gas, and slowly releasing natural gas into the lines. As with the earlier trunk line purging and energizing, people may notice a rotten-egg smell from mercaptan, an odorant added to natural gas to make it detectable. Purged gas dissipates quickly and isn’t dangerous.

The purging process will be done in three phases:

• Sept. 3: Soundview Avenue area;

• Sept. 5: Bartlett Street north of Pioneer Avenue moving northeast; 

• Sept. 9: South of Fairview Avenue to north side of Pioneer Avenue and Main Street to Heath Street west to east; and

• Sept. 11: Sterling Highway from West Hill Road to Lake Street, Old Town, Bidarka neighborhood.

Each area will take about two days to complete.

Once the energizing is complete for the area, Enstar workers will begin hanging door tags for homes in those areas to confirm gas is available at the meter. Property owners who have plumbing done and appliances ready to receive gas can then request meters be set and gas turned on.

For updates on the Homer expansion project, visit enstarnaturalgas.com, Enstar’s website, or call or visit its Homer office at 435-0635, 345 Sterling Highway, Suite 104.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.