Delmarva Power manages more than 3,600 miles of natural gas lines to deliver safe and reliable service for 136,000 customers in New Castle County, Delaware. Over the last five years, we have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in our system to maintain safe and reliable service and continue to meet growing demand for natural gas. These investments include conducting regular inspections, performing preventive maintenance, modernizing existing natural gas lines as needed and installing new natural gas lines across our service area.
For larger projects, we work to minimize impacts to the local area and provide advance notice to customers about upcoming work. We also coordinate closely with state and local officials, including water and sewer replacement programs and street rehabilitation and paving programs in the City of Wilmington and other local municipalities. If you have questions about a project in your area, please contact Customer Care at 800-375-7117 or e-mail GasEngineering@Delmarva.com.
The overall modernization of our natural gas delivery system in northern Delaware is a core component of our commitment to providing safe and reliable natural gas service for our customers. Through this initiative we are replacing our aging natural gas infrastructure, including cast-iron and bare-steel main and service line. Each year, we modernize more than five miles of natural gas mains across our service area, replacing them with new plastic pipe which enhances safety, is more durable, and improves reliability. Plastic pipe is now the principal material used for natural gas systems because it does not corrode and is strong and flexible to ground movement.
Since beginning this comprehensive modernization effort in 2006, we have replaced more than two-thirds of our cast-iron and bare-steel natural gas mains. Based on our current schedule, we will have replaced the remaining cast-iron and bare-steel mains by 2027, five years ahead of the original schedule.
To enhance and further modernize our natural gas system, we are installing a new natural gas main in New Castle, Delaware. The project will connect two existing underground natural gas lines and is needed to transport natural gas across our system so it can be delivered to customers' homes and businesses. The project will provide much needed additional capacity in our natural gas delivery system, helping meet the energy needs of our customers and growing demand for natural gas in northern Delaware.
The first phase of construction has been completed and the second phase is scheduled to begin in early 2020, weather permitting. The second phase of this project includes a portion along the Industrial Track Trail, between Frenchtown Road and Boulden Boulevard. Local residents will have limited access to the Industrial Track Trail within the project area at various times this winter. In addition, some lane restrictions or modifications may occur on nearby roads while work is underway. As part the project's second phase, we will restore all areas affected by construction, including repaving the Industrial Track Trail.
To meet growing demand for natural gas, we are proposing to build a natural gas storage tank facility in New Castle County. The facility will provide a reliable supply of natural gas for our 134,000 customers in New Castle County during peak winter demand – on the coldest days of the year - and help maintain affordable service. Demand for natural gas continues to grow and, in 2018, customer demand set a record in our service area. The proposed facility will help meet this demand and is expected to save customers more than $124 million over 30 years by reducing the cost of supplying natural gas on the coldest days of the year. All our customers who receive natural gas through Delmarva Power’s delivery system will benefit from the reliability enhancements and savings resulting from this project.