UGI Utilities, which distributes natural gas and electricity to customers in 45 Pennsylvania counties, confirmed today it is in the very early stages of planning for a new headquarters in East Cocalico Township.
No land has been purchased, and there is no building design at this time, according to UGI spokesman Joseph Swope. He also said several years remain on the lease of the company’s current headquarters at 2525 N. 12th St. in Reading.
The land UGI wants to purchase is a 32-acre plot in East Cocalico Township. Sitting between Route 222 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike, the spot would provide UGI with convenient access to customers in Central and eastern Pennsylvania.
“We’re looking for a location that provides ready access to as much of our service territory as possible,” Swope said.
The property is currently being farmed, but it is zoned for light industrial. It is owned by MC Realty Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Reading Health System.
UGI is in discussions with MC Realty to purchase the land.
The move to Lancaster County is still “several years away,” Swope said, but the need to move stems from significant growth. UGI has added more than 80,000 customers in the past five years or so, and it has added two additional gas utilities.
“We need to relocate into a facility that reflects what UGI has become,” Swope said.
Lower gas prices are spurring the company’s growth, as customers are paying significantly less for natural gas than they were in the early to mid-2000s, Swope said.
UGI is set to increase its base rate for commercial and residential natural gas on Oct. 19, following a Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission settlement reached in August, according to previous news reports.
The increase will generate an extra $27 million for UGI.