Ballygowan is first town to benefit from £60m gas expansion project
BALLYGOWAN is the first of 13 new towns in Co Down to be connected to the Phoenix Natural Gas network as part of a £60 million expansion project.
The project, which was granted permission by the Utility Regulator last December, will involve the gas company bringing the benefits of natural gas to an additional 13 towns and villages for the first time over the next three years.
Benefitting from the expansion will be Annahilt, Ballygowan, Ballynahinch, Castlewellan, Crossgar, Downpatrick, Dromore, Drumaness, Dundrum, Hillsborough, Newcastle, Saintfield and The Spa.
Construction of the pipeline began in April, starting in Ballygowan, which now has gas available, with the first customers expected to be connected to the network in the next few weeks.
Phoenix director of operations Ivan Bell said: “We have an international reputation in developing natural gas networks and have already constructed 3,500 kilometres of natural gas pipelines to bring natural gas to more than 330,000 homes and businesses in Northern Ireland.
“We are using the latest construction techniques and equipment to bring the benefits of natural gas to a further 28,000 homes and businesses for the first time.
"Ballygowan is the first of the new towns to have fuel choice, and the interest levels are already extremely positive,” he added.
Economy Minister Simon Hamilton welcomed the network expansion, adding: “This is great news for the people of Ballygowan. Expansion of the gas network brings additional energy choice to businesses, public sector, and domestic consumers.
"My department will continue to work with the Utility Regulator and gas industry to further expand the network across Northern Ireland.”