Mark Cutshaw talks about the Natural Gas project on the Island
The Fernandina Beach Rotary Club recently enjoyed a presentation by Mark Cutshaw, general manager of Florida Public Utilities (FPU) since 2006. Cutshaw began with a brief history of FPU, which has been providing electricity in Fernandina Beach since the 1930s. In 2009, FPU was acquired by Chesapeake Utilities Corporation. Shortly after its acquisition, FPU and Chesapeake Utilities partnered with Peninsula Pipeline and TECO/People’s Gas to begin construction of a natural gas pipeline. The $23 million project was driven by local corporation Rock Tenn’s interest in using natural gas in its manufacture of paper products. The pipeline, which is nearing completion, will initially provide service to industrial users such as Rock Tenn as well as commercial accounts, including the Ritz Carlton and the Omni Amelia Island Plantation. The pipeline currently runs east to Amelia Island from its transmission system origination point near Jacksonville International Airport. FPU’s long-term goals include extending the pipeline westward to serve industrial and commercial sites near I-95 and the Crawford Diamond site near Callahan. Cutshaw closed by saying the company plans to make natural gas available to residential customers in the near future.