We want you to feel as informed as possible about the Marquette Connector. Below is a list of common questions and answers about the project. Check it out and learn more.
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Why do we need the Marquette Connector?
Ultimately, it’s a matter of safety. The Marquette Connector helps ensure the reliable delivery of natural gas to homes and businesses throughout the Upper Peninsula.
Presently, only one natural gas pipeline serves SEMCO’s customers throughout the western U.P. A single failure in that pipeline could result in thousands of people without the gas they need to heat their homes and operate their businesses for weeks. In the U.P. in the dead of winter, that’s a serious concern.
The Marquette Connector addresses these concerns by connecting the region to a second natural gas pipeline, thereby providing a critical back-up for the area’s energy needs.
Additionally, the current pipeline serving the region is at capacity.
Access to a second pipeline provides the additional natural gas capacity the region requires to continue to grow now and into the future.
Whom will the Marquette Connector serve?
The Marquette Connector will serve nearly 35,000 SEMCO customers throughout the western portion of the Upper Peninsula.
In total, 42 communities will benefit from the Marquette Connector.
Where will the Marquette Connector be built?
The Marquette Connector will be built entirely within Marquette County. The pipeline will be approximately 42 miles long, starting near Arnold, MI and ending in Marquette, MI.
What does the Marquette Connector route look like?
Most of the land the Marquette Connector passes through is classified as rural forest and low-density residential. And over 8o percent of the Marquette Connector follows, and is adjacent to, existing gas, electric, and road right-of-way corridors.
Who will build the Marquette Connector?
The actual construction will be contracted out to various subcontractors, but SEMCO will oversee and manage the project.
Portions of the installation work, surveying and construction support will be provided by personnel from the U.P. and surrounding areas.
When is construction planned to begin?
Construction is planned to begin in 2018.
How long will construction take?
Construction is anticipated to take between 18 and 24 months.
How much will the Marquette Connector cost?
The total cost of the project is estimated at approximately $135 - $140 million.
How much of that investment will be made directly in Marquette County?
All of it.
All Marquette Connector piping, facilities and other infrastructure investments will be made entirely within Marquette County.
Who will pay for the Marquette Connector Pipeline?
SEMCO customers throughout the state will pay for the Marquette Connector through rates reviewed and approved by the Michigan Public Service Commission on their monthly utility bill.
How much will it cost ratepayers?
SEMCO residential customers can expect to pay an additional $3.99 a month as a result of the Marquette Connector project.
When will SEMCO customers first see this rate increase?
SEMCO customers will not experience any Marquette Connector-related rate increase until 2020.
With the proposed rate increase, where does that put SEMCO relative to its competitors in terms of price?
Even with a $3.99 a month customer increase, SEMCO’s rates are still less than the state’s two largest utilities, DTE and Consumers Energy.
Additionally, even with the rate increase, SEMCO residential customers can still expect to pay $6.00 less per month on their gas bill compared to the rates they paid in 2011 due to the lower overall cost of natural gas that SEMCO is able to purchase and pass along to its customers.
How will the Marquette Connector project impact the environment?
The Marquette Connector will have very little impact on the environment.
The pipeline will be installed almost entirely underground, leaving little or no visual evidence of its presence.
Some brush and trees will be cleared to accommodate construction.
Directional boring will be used to minimize the impact on waterways and wetlands. Construction will likely temporarily disrupt some wetland areas to accommodate the project.
How will the Marquette Connector impact property owners?
Property owners will be minimally impacted by the Marquette Connector. The pipeline will cross 220 parcels collectively owned by 122 individuals, and most of the pipeline route is next to existing gas, electric transmission lines and road ways.
Will property owners be reimbursed for the land the Marquette Connector passes through?
Property owners will be paid a square footage-based fee for the easement that is consistent with market value.
How much property tax revenue will the Marquette Connector generate?
SEMCO estimates that the Marquette Connector will contribute approximately $22 million in tax revenue during the first 10 years the pipeline is in service.
What steps must be completed before construction of the Marquette Connector begins?
Before construction can begin, SEMCO must first gain regulatory approval from the Michigan Public Service Commission.
SEMCO submitted an Act 9 application on December 15, 2016 to begin the regulatory approval process.
How long does the Act 9 Application process take?
The Act 9 Application process typically takes anywhere between 9 and 12 months. Over the course of those months, a panel of 3 commissioners will hear testimony related to the project before making a determination on whether or not the Marquette Connector is prudent and necessary.
Is there a period for public comment during the Act 9 Application process?
Public comments will be taken throughout the 9 to 12 month application process.