West Londo Lake Association

Dedicated to the betterment of the West Londo Lake Area

Directly below are letters from Sue Paavo regarding the status of the proposed natural gas pipeline.  I apologize that I cannot get the supplied links to work (must be a Mac issue?)  Please copy them (as noted) and paste them into the search bar of your browser at the TOP of the page.    Gary
January 17, 2017

Dear Neighbors @ Londo Lake,

This letter is being sent to you via a email address that was supplied to me from a friend or neighbor who is concerned with getting enough surveys returned to bring natural gas to our area.  If you wish to NOT receive any future updates, return a note to me and I will delete you from this mailing list.

First, I would like to say Thank You to everyone for their help and support, especially Gary Benning for posting on the Londo Lake website http://www.westlondolake.org/naturalgas.html (copy and paste into your browser search bar at the TOP of the page) and Joe and Donna Gretka for all their work in gathering the initial mailing addresses from the townships to give to DTE and their canvassing of their neighbors and friends. It’s Unfortunate the timing of this project, came during a season when it's hardest to reach everyone, but I know if we all work together we can accomplish our goal!

I have an update on the natural gas project from David Stanton @ DTE. As of 1/10/17, DTE now has a total of 147 returned surveys (out of 322 mailed), with 102 voting yes for Natural gas and 45 voting no. While 69 % of the returns are in favor, which is good, we still need to find a way to have more surveys returned to bring this project to fruition.

My husband, Rod and I have been going door to door along the proposed DTE pipeline run, talking to those we could reach, handing out copied DTE survey letters and my previous e-mails to those that hadn’t received one. Listed below are a few more of the questions we have been asked:

What impact will natural gas have on resale value?

According to a consensus of area realtors in the communities where UPL has installed natural gas distribution systems, homes connected to natural gas enjoy an average appreciation in property resale value of 5% to 10% over similar homes without gas service. This beneficial increase in property value is seldom, if ever, reflected in the home's value for property tax purposes. In addition, connection to natural gas service can have aesthetic value as well by eliminating an external propane tank or an external or internal oil tank. http://www.utilitypipelineltd.com/frequently-asked-questions   (copy and paste into your browser search bar at the TOP of the page)

What are the people @ long lakes project typical energy savings? Are they happy with converting to natural gas? What were their conversion costs? Was there any issues converting?
While everyone’s savings can be different depending on efficiencies of the home and equipment, I haven’t come across anyone from the long Lake Project saving less than 50% over what they were paying for propane. Some have said their savings are greater than 50%. When asked if there was anything they could have changed about the Long Lake project, many said they only wish they could have hooked up to natural gas sooner as it has helped out a lot financially. Conversion costs with the people I have spoken to vary. One person had a furnace, cooking stove and garage heater converted by his heating and cooling person for about a $100 in less than an hour. He had no issues converting. His neighbor had an orifice that was soldered in place; it was able to be drilled out by his technician since a natural gas orifice has larger holes than a propane orifice. I called Brian’s plumbing and heating in Hale and inquired about their experience with converting the Long lake residents. They didn’t recall having any issues converting any furnaces over. They said there were a couple of times where a water heater could not be converted and had to be replaced, but in most cases the new units’ energy efficiency /savings was even greater. I asked them about changing over fireplaces and on demand water systems, they said they do not install fireplaces but know that many manufacturers make propane to natural gas conversion kits for both fireplaces and on demand water heaters.
We have since made phone calls to the manufactures of our equipment and inquired to the possibility of switching over our gas appliances. Some will require a simple orifice change, others like our fireplace for example, will require a $33.76 conversion kit. All are minor costs in comparison to saving 50% or greater in fuel costs year after year.

(These below questions were answered by DTE)David M Stanton david.stanton@dteenergy.com Jan 9 at 2:16 PM

If someone initially does not hook up to Natural gas and if the project goes through, can they get hooked up (years) later? Do they have to pay the same amount ($3500)? Does anyone who is already connected get a rebate if people join in later?
Yes, you can hook up at any time after the main is installed. Your lump sum buyout will be slightly less but the monthly surcharge will not change for the whatever time frame is remaining. When/if the main is installed, it is a 10 year project. So anytime during the 10 years there is a surcharge, after that the individual home is ran through our pricing model individually. Theoretically, every year you’re not hooked up, you are missing out on savings. There is no rebate for people that sign up early or in the first year. When pricing this project we take into account that some homeowners will wait until year 2, 3, 4, …

Does DTE meet with the individual homeowners to tell them what they need (piping at meter location to connect, location of meter,)?
Yes, we have experienced sales associates that will come to each person’s home and walk with through what needs to be done and where the meter can go. As far as piping after the meter and in the home, that is the homeowners responsibility to work with a heating and plumbing contractor.

Do homeowners have to get surveys done on their property prior to pipeline going in?
No, in most cases this is not necessary. If one is required, we will take care of it.

Are the roads surveyed prior to pipelines going in to make sure they are in the road right of ways? Yes, we work with the municipalities to ensure we are in the right of ways and within in our permits.

How many miles of pipeline does DTE estimate this project is?
Approximately 36,000 feet on main pipeline.

Attached to this email is the original letter and survey from DTE to print out if you have not received one. They need to be returned by mail or email to DTE by Jan 31, 2017. If you should have any further questions you can email me or contact David Stanton directly @ david.stanton@dteenergy.com or his office 616 954-4607. We are trying to come up with a game plan to address the surveys that have not been returned. If you have any ideas, please let me know.

Thank you for your time and help!
Sue Paavo
Hello everyone, directly below is a letter from Sue Paavo explaining some of the ins and outs of the proposed DTE natural gas run to West Londo Lake (and Londo Lake).  Sue (and her husband) went door to door two weeks ago to hand out questionnaires and explain what is going on with this proposal.  PLEASE read below, her letter, followed by a letter from David Stanton at DTE.  This can greatly reduce our heating bills and increase property values. 
                                                                                  Gary Benning   1/12/17
Hi everyone!
 
With finding a few of our contacts that had not received a natural gas survey, This past weekend  Rod and I went door to door along the proposed DTE natural gas pipeline run, talking to those we could reach, handing out copied DTE survey letters and my previous e-mail to those that hadn't received one.

We also handed out the below slip, which is a online preferred contact survey we set up to aid in the notification of property owners around both Londo Lakes and along the proposed pipeline run. There currently is not a complete updated contact list for everyone.  If you wish to receive future updates, follow the link below to the survey. 
http://bit.do/LondoLakeContactForm  (copy & paste into your browser search bar at the TOP of the page.)  Doing this will keep you in the loop!  Or, use the QR code below.



Thank you!
Sue


_______________________________


We’re gathering current contact information so we can keep you up to date with important notifications for Londo Lake property owners. Follow the link to be directed to a short survey.
Just click on the blue lettering. 

(This Letter was mailed/emailed and personally handed out by Sue Paavo.  Please take the time to read it, and the letter just below. Gary)

DTE has mailed out an initial survey (using a property tax mailing ID) for a proposed Natural Gas Project for both Londo Lakes and homes along the proposed pipeline run.  Most people have received a survey. If you have not, I have attached the original letter and survey to this e-mail to print it out and send in.

 As of today's date only 123 surveys have been returned out of 322 that were sent out.  It is of utmost importance of the success of this project that the remaining surveys be returned ASAP- They can be returned to David Stanton by email or US mail @ the address below.  In order for this project to be on DTE's calendar for 2017, they need a greater response by the end of January.

Though my conversations with David, here are a few questions I had answered.

Why $3500?
 DTE uses the estimated cost of installing the entire pipeline and subtracts the amount of projected natural gas sales over a 20 year period in a particular area. The shortfall, if there is one is then divided among the users. In this project they estimate it to be $3500. per home. If the pipeline does not run down all streets due to lack of interest that amount could change.

What is the time line for this project?

The initial surveys and letters went out.
DTE needs a "YES" response of around 65 percent by the end of January.
If the interest is there, DTE will send out additional information and hold informational meetings in the area February- March.
Interested persons will then be mailed an application of which they need to fill out and return with a $300 deposit.
DTE could start installing pipeline as early as late spring for the main line and anticipates to be ready to hook up to homes the end of July- August 2017.

When is the $3500 due?

Three hundred ($300) is due with your application (possibly around March 2017). This covers the cost of your meter and a portion of the construction cost. The remainder you will have the option of prepaying,  paying in one lump sum or in monthly installments for up to 10 years. After your home is hooked up to natural gas, when you receive your first gas bill, on it you will be asked to select one of the payment options. You can choose to pay off your balance at any time within the 10 years.

Can I get natural gas run to a back lot garage or guest house I want to heat occasionally?

DTE will run a "branch" to a back lot building if they know about it in advance. A garage on a lot across the road from a main house would require a additional/separate meter and receive its own bill for natural gas usage. Persons would not have to pay an additional $3500 but would be subject to fees for additional meters and pipeline costs over 400 feet total.


 If you should have any further questions you can contact David Stanton directly. The website listed on the original letter; http://www.dteenergy.com/switch2gas (copy and paste into the search bar of your browser at the TOP of the page)  has a excellent energy savings calculator and valuable switching to natural gas information. If you have questions or concerns call and ask questions, get the facts to make an educated decision that is best for you and your family. If you should have issues printing the survey please let me know, I will personally send you one US mail.

This project is so very important to the people that reside around Londo Lake, those that heat through the winter, or others who are looking forward to being able to enjoy their cottages for a longer season. Please take the time to fill out and mail in your surveys!

Please do forward this to e-mail addresses you may have for persons around the lake. The greater number of people we reach out to the greater success this project will have. Thank You for your time and help!

Sue Paavo
.(This is a copy of a letter that I received from David Stanton at DTE.  I copied and pasted what I could, but got the whole body of the letter. GJB posted 1/12/17)

Natural Gas Interest Survey – West and East Londo Lake Area    DTE Energy is conducting a study to determine the level of interest in converting to natural gas. Based on your interest level, DTE Energy will make a decision regarding the expansion of gas facilities. We are currently looking at bringing natural gas service to the East and West Londo Lake area. Please take a minute to fill out the survey that is included.     At this time, we have calculated the cost to be between $40.00 to $50.00 per month for ten years or, a one-time lump sum payment of approximately $3,500 for each home/business.  This cost is for the main line that would run down the road in front of your homes or businesses. Each individual service line is subject to a $300.00 application fee, and possible other fees if service line is over 400’.     Again, this is only a survey. The prices are subject to change and certain streets may not be included due to lack of interest. Before deciding… you may want to know how much you could save, based on your current fuel source, and what your payback time period would be.   To find this information, please go to www.dteenergy.com/switch2gas
. This will bring you to an “Energy Calculator” to help you answer these questions.   Please return the survey on the next page to DTE Energy in the envelope provided.  Thank you for your time,    

 POSTED 11/19/16

 

There will be questions regarding the cost and benefits of connecting to natural gas.  Here are some answers supplied by Edison.

  

 1) Re: appliances: All propane appliances will either need to be converted or

     replaced.  You can do it yourself if you have the know-how, or contact a

     local heating and plumbing contractor. According to DTE Energy, conversion

     fees are dependent on the number of appliances and their ages.

2) To compare the cost of propane, here is what DTE Energy says: In a one to

     one comparison, you would need to be currently buying propane at around

     $0.60/gallon to equal the cost of Natural Gas.

3)  A scenario:  “I have been told that natural gas runs 30% the cost of

     propane,and burns hotter.  If this is true, does that mean that someone

     spending $1000/year on propane would now spend $340, saving

     $660/year?  Using the figures you sent me, that would make the installed

     break even ROI at 6.25 years at current pricing.”

          In some cases, yes, however, the propane market is unregulated by the

     state so the propane companies can change their prices with demand. 

     Some people are paying as low as $0.79/gallon in some areas of Michigan

     while others are paying $2.20/gallon.  Our prices are regulated and

     consistent with all residential customers across the state. The best thing to

     do is go to our website and enter your specific information to see your 

     savings.

 

4)   Property values:  I would also like to mention that property values should go

     up with less money being spent on home heating.  Having Natural Gas is

     always a selling point. 

 

5) Bonus!  You don’t have to have a large propane tank in your yard and never

     worry about running out.

 

6) It is highly recommended that you go to the DTE Energy website for your

     cost analysis is: www.dteenergy.com/switch2gas


7)  I forgot to mention that DTE is estimating that financing the natural gas

     hookup would cost about $40-$50/mo.  Sorry

                                                                                                                     update: 11/7/16
Detroit Edison is trying to bring natural gas to the lake areas.  It is presently at Putnam and Curtis.  Here is what Jerry, Donna & Joe have been doing regarding this matter.

All the necessary mailing addresses for both Londo Lakes and the surrounding
areas of Hill Township has been sent to DTE.  DTE will send the
the information concerning what comes next to the people involved
regarding the possibility of bringing it to our area.

As a side note of my own - natural gas is about one third the expense of propane.  Think about that as you are looking at the initial expense of installing it.  Also, because it is so much less expensive, our property values will increase.  Thanks my two cents worth.  Gary

                                                                                   

There is an effort underway to get natural gas to Long Lake and Loon Lake.  They need 500 people to sign up by July 31st, 2012.  There were only 240, the last I heard, so it does not look like this year is feasible..  Members of the Association are trying to get them to come to West Londo Lake also, if that project flies.


I am told that the pipeline will come down Curtis Road, then head to the other lakes.  West Londo - and Londo, for that matter, are a lot closer, so hopefully they will realize that and come our way.  Click on "Natural Gas" to go to the web site.  In the meantime, their phone number is 888-378-2287.  Call them and request natural gas to our lake.  The natural gas is about 1/2 the price of propane, but regardless, it is always less expensive.  It has been reported to me that the paybak, at todays prices is about 4 years - but I have not done any of the math myself (yet).

Please click on the tabs to the left for additional content.  Any suggestions, photos (jpeg only), articles you would like in, etc, should be directed to Gary Benning, at garyb36350@yahoo.com.