Access to natural gas causes row in St. James
Some residents in Kings Village Road, St. James are inflamed over their inability to access natural gas.
And the problem was compounded by what appears to be a move by authorties to connect homes in an adjoining road.
One of the furious residents, Peter Gibson told Barbados TODAY that some years ago they requested a natural gas line be run through their gap since one was already installed on the main road. They were informed that because their cul-de-sac was recently paved it could not be dug up within five years — that was almost 10 years ago.
“So we prepared in we minds we ain’t gine get natural gas in no hurry, but lo and behold on July 2 I was driving out there and I see some officials out there. I asked a question and I hear that them running natural gas,” Gibson said.
“Initially I thought we getting natural gas too but lo and behold them tell me them only plan to run natural gas through the first gap. My problem is if they could run natural gas through that gap, why we can’t get natural gas too? The man claim because lack of funds; they ain’t extending no more natural gas because them ain’t got no money but I don’t know what they calling that up there?” he said.
“I feel I know the real reason why natural gas run up there… I ain’t got no problem with [the gap] getting natural gas but I want some too. I mean if you gine develop natural gas in an area how you gine do it in one gap and not the next, when the natural gas run straight on the main road?”
Upon seeing the work being done in the neighbouring cul-de-sac, with the agreement of fellow residents in his gap, Gibson wrote a petition which was mailed to the National Petroleum company.
The petition requested the service of natural gas in their neighbourhood and it further stated the service was already existent in the area.
In response, via a letter dated July 26, 2013, Manager for Technical Operations at NPC, Roger Martindale, wrote: “The National Petroleum Corporation wishes to inform you due to the unavailability of a financial budget to execute such work, it is executing maintenance of its existing infrastructure only; therefore it is not carrying out extensions of natural gas mains at this time. However, your petition would be keep on file for consideration, should the corporation’s financial position improves.”
When a Barbados TODAY team visited the area this morning, workmen were seen digging trenches for the laying of new pipes.
Melvin Nowelle, another resident who was present and witnessed the excavation, said he thought it was truly unreasonable to get the type of response in the letter.
“Saying they aren’t carrying out any new works, yet still all of that is new work that is happening and then we are unable to get anything happen here. I reckoned if they had said they were only able to do that area then we could live with that, but not saying that they could only carrying out maintenance when all of that is new,” said Nowelle.
Nowelle said one of his reasons for wanting natural gas was because natural gas was cheaper than LPG and saving money was important in the current recession. However, a sticking issue he referred to was that he believed usually when NPC worked in an area laying pipes “they don’t get back to that area in no hurry. So I reckon if you are working in the area already and it is just this piece why not do this piece?”
Efforts to reach Martindale from NPC proved unsuccessful, while General Manager James Browne was said to be in a meeting. (KC)