The Mount Airy Town Council voted unanimously last night to allow Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. to install natural gas lines and offer gas service within town limits.
The ordinance, which was introduced at last month's meeting, grants BG&E; a natural gas franchise. It will become effective in 20 days.
BG&E; officials have said that natural gas could be available by January in the town, which does not currently have any natural gas service.
A franchise would permit BG&E; to lay gas lines and offer its services within town limits, but it would not be an exclusive franchise, the ordinance says.
The availability of natural gas would provide more fuel choices to Mount Airy's nearly 4,000 residents, who now use propane, oil or electricity.
BG&E; officials have said that the company's marketing surveys show restaurants and businesses in Mount Airy are interested in using natural gas for heating and cooking.
The ordinance requires the company to agree to supply all Mount Airy residents, not just new construction and high-density areas.
When BG&E; officials approached Mount Airy council members about the franchise in July, the council members expressed concerns about safety and the use of plastic pipe to supply natural gas to the town from a major supply line near the Carroll-Howard County border.
Since then, BG&E; officials have met with council members to discuss safety concerns, and to show them the plastic pipes.
There has been little opposition to BG&E;'s proposal. Only one person attended a public hearing last month to solicit comments on the franchise.