Opinion: Vt. Gas spins pipeline’s cost increase

Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.
Gaz Metro, aka Vermont Gas, has done it again. Originally the story had three major reasons for the increase in the cost of the natural gas pipeline:
1.      The utility announced late Wednesday afternoon that Phase 1 of expanding gas service in Addison county, from Colchester to Middlebury, will cost $35.6 million MORE than originally planned. Vermont Gas cited as reasons increased construction costs, changes to accommodate people living along the route, and “enhanced project oversight.”
2.      “Sinclair said the cost increase for the pipeline expansion is “not surprising” given the demand for pipeline construction across the Northeast and the United States.” Vermont Gas said in a statement there has been a “nationwide surge” in the costs of construction labor and of materials.
3.      The final reason Vermont Gas cited for the increased cost is “greater project oversight,” including more inspectors to “make the project better.” As we were working to finalize the design, it became apparent that to have proper oversight for a project this size, we needed additional inspectors and construction oversight,” Sinclair said. “This is one of the largest projects we’ve undertaken. It became apparent to us that to do it right and make sure it goes according to schedule and on budget we needed to bring additional resources to bear.”
That was then. This is now. In an Associated Press story last week it said:
“The company announced earlier this month the estimated cost of phase one of the project had climbed by 40 percent, to more than $121 million. The company attributes higher costs to route changes to accommodate landowners and towns along the route.”
Classic Vermont Gaz spin. Blame the victims and don’t let the truth get in the way of your story.
Mary Martin

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