ELLSWORTH — City Manager Michelle Beal remembers in the 1970s when lots of people decided to use electricity to heat their homes.
She also recalls how people were later left scrambling for alternatives when electricity became more expensive.
It’s a lesson she’s keeping in mind as she and other officials eye the city’s energy future.
“I want to move forward carefully,” Beal said last week, a day after meeting with representatives of Dead River Co.
Dead River recently announced it is partnering with Boston-based Xpress Natural Gas to bring compressed natural gas (CNG) to businesses and large industrial customers in Maine.
Ellsworth officials have previously expressed an interest in bringing some sort of natural gas service to the city — whether via a pipeline, or by truck (the delivery method for CNG).
While CNG was one of the options talked about with Dead River, Beal said propane was another fuel that was looked at.
“It was a good discussion of the options we have for the city,” she said. “We have more options than just a pipeline.”
While CNG offers savings over fuel oil, Beal said the cost of trucking CNG to a given delivery point adds to the cost of the fuel. That makes it relatively comparable to propane in terms of price — at least for right now.
Beal said the question she is keeping in mind is, “What could possibly happen in the future?”