DAYTON — Additional information gathered after a recent story about a workshop held by the Tongue River Valley Joint Powers Board — which is seeking to bring natural gas to Dayton, Ranchester and area schools — indicates that the cost to convert from propane to natural gas will be $500 to $1,500 per household.
The story ran in Thursday’s edition of The Sheridan Press.
Individual conversion costs will depend on the age and condition of each person’s furnace, water heater and other propane-powered appliances like stoves, board member Peter Clark said. Replacement may also be an option.
The board — consisting of representatives from Dayton, Ranchester and Sheridan County School District No. 1 — met Wednesday with consultant Steven Shute, owner of Pipeline Solutions, Inc., in Glenwood Springs, Colo., and Pinedale Natural Gas in Pinedale.
Shute said the cost to convert is worth it when the long-term savings in utility costs are considered. He noted that propane costs approximately $2 to $2.50 per gallon while natural gas is currently about 72-cents per gallon. Natural gas is approximately 1/3 the cost of electric heat, Shute said.
Shute’s companies have been instrumental in bringing natural gas to small towns across the nation.
The system will need at least 600-800 customers to be viable, Shute said. A survey conducted by Montana-Dakota Utilities in 2009 indicated at least 400 people in the area were interested in converting to natural gas, Dayton Mayor Bob Wood said.
The Tongue River Valley Joint Powers Board will meet again Nov. 26. Members of the board include Dayton Town Councilors Joey Sheeley and Norm Anderson, Ranchester Town Councilors Peter Clark and Randy Sundquist, and SCSD 2 Trustee Karen Walters.