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Habitat Magazine July/August 2020 free digital issue




A Victory for Consumers in the Natural Gas Wars

New York City

Gas War

New York State is trying to wean itself from fossil fuels in favor of wind and solar energy.

Oct. 16, 2019

The New York State Department of Public Service (DPS) has ordered National Grid to connect natural gas service for more than 1,100 customers in Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island, warning the utility that it faces millions of dollars in penalties for denying service, Natural Gas Intelligence reports. 

National Grid has imposed a moratorium on new gas service in New York City, indicating last month that it’s unable to process 2,600 applications representing 20,000 commercial, residential, and multi-family units because of the state’s rejection of the proposed Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) pipeline. Governor Andrew Cuomo has accused the utility of using consumers as pawns in a political war. 

National Grid said shortly after the DPS announced the order on Friday that it would “immediately begin connecting” applicants identified in the order that had inactive accounts, applied for gas service, and were denied because of the utility’s moratorium on new connections. National Grid New York President John Bruckner on Monday said the company is aiming to reconnect a majority of the customers by mid-November. 

The DPS order claims there are numerous options available to National Grid to provide reliable service, including implementing aggressive demand response and energy-efficiency programs, as well as alternative supply options. If utilized, the DPS said other customers not included in the order could also receive service, but Bruckner stressed Monday that the moratorium must remain in effect for customers seeking new or expanded service. “But let’s remember,” he said, “we still need additional, long-term and firm supplies of natural gas.” 

Environmentalists applauded the state’s rejection of the NESE pipeline, saying the state needs to wean itself from fossil fuels and promote sustainable energy sources, including wind and solar.

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