By Chuck Warrington, Clearwater Gas System executive director
One of the fastest growing areas in the greater Tampa Bay region, Pasco County, features a unique blend of undeveloped, open spaces in close proximity to the modern, vibrant communities that makes it a great location to live, visit and do business.
Located at the apex of the greater Tampa Bay metropolitan area, businesses of all sizes are taking notice of the tremendous benefits that come with locating in Pasco County including ready access to major interstate highways, rail lines, air transportation and a deep seaport as well as a diverse, skilled workforce that powers businesses throughout the region.
Over the past ten years, Clearwater Gas System has experienced a significant growth spurt throughout its service territory, particularly in Pasco County. Clearwater Gas System’s idea to formulate an aggressive expansion plan into Pasco began in 1996. The first phase of construction involved the installation of a 50-mile gas pipeline to service approximately 234 residential, and commercial, customers. Now fast forward to 2021, where that initial expansion idea has catapulted to an impressive growth rate of 18.1 percent in 2019 and 17.2 percent in 2020. “There is certainly room to increase our Pasco customer count by another 12,000 to 15,000 gas customers over the next ten years,” says Chuck Warrington, Executive Director.
And, in recent news, Pasco County is currently in the middle of a building boom with permit staff reviewing 721 permit applications for new homes (since January 2021). The opportunity of providing gas service to even more customers, in this area, is certainly a bright spot for Clearwater Gas System -especially given today’s challenges with continuous customer growth amid a pandemic. “We understand the importance of having strong relationships with our utility providers, here in Pasco County, and appreciate the Clearwater Gas System team’s commitment to growing with us,” said Bill Cronin, President/CEO Pasco EDC. “Available infrastructure is a crucial element we discuss when working on projects.”
Thanks to Pasco’s residential and commercial building boom, Clearwater Gas System is well-positioned to hit the 10,000th Pasco customer milestone by year-end (current customer total is 9,545), which will lead the way for Clearwater Gas to reach 30,000 total customers (currently 29,151). And as a key part of Clearwater Gas System’s service commitment, specifically in areas where natural gas infrastructure has not yet arrived, Clearwater Gas System offers propane gas as an energy-efficient alternative.
“As Pasco County’s award-winning Economic Development Council continues to attract highly diverse industries to the county, Clearwater Gas System will continue our mission to be the energy provider of choice” explained Chuck Warrington.
Clearwater Gas System at a glance:
Founded: 1923 – owned and operated by the City of Clearwater
Fourth largest municipal gas system in Florida
Total Gas System accounts: 29,151
Pasco growth during FY2020: 1,316 new customers or 17.2% growth rate
Service area: 330 square miles, serves 20 cities in north Pinellas and Pasco counties as well as propane (LP) customers in NW Hillsborough County
Miles of main pipeline: 1,035
Authorized Employees: 110
Clearwater Gas System is the fourth largest municipal gas system in Florida and ranks 35th out of nearly 1,000 public gas systems in the United States. Visit www.clearwatergas.com for more information on the benefits of natural gas energy.