National Grid Blinks At Cuomo Ultimatum, Reopens Gas Spigot

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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced an agreement with National Grid to immediately lift the current moratorium on gas service in Long Island, Queens and Brooklyn, ending the utility company’s moratorium on instituting gas lines after the state rejected its bid to building a natural gas pipeline connecting to a larger pipeline in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

The agreement ends a standoff between the Cuomo administration and Natural Grid, in which Cuomo threatened sanctions against the utility company and the revoke their operating license if they did not restore gas service to customers that saw their natural gas service interrupted and new service never getting hooked up.

Under the agreement, National Grid has identified short-term supply mechanisms that will conservatively meet demand for approximately the next two years, allowing it to restore service to any customers that it had refused and grant all pending applications. National Grid will present a long-term options analysis within three months, subject to a public review process. The long-term options will be in place and functioning in Fall 2021.

To compensate customers who were adversely impacted by the moratorium, National Grid will pay a $36 million penalty. The penalty will also support new energy conservation measures and clean energy projects as directed by the Director of the New York State Division of the Budget in consultation with the Public Service Commission.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

“This agreement is a victory for customers,” Cuomo said. “National Grid will pay a significant penalty for its failure to address the supply issue, its abuse of its customers, and the adverse economic impact they have caused. The company is also working to address the long-term supply problem and will present options in the coming months to the people of Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island, letting them choose the best way forward for their communities. Today it was made clear that we will not allow any business – big or small – to extort New Yorkers in order to advance its own interests. I also want to thank Attorney General Tish James, Senator Kevin Parker (D-Flatbush) and Assembly Member Cusick (D-Staten Island) for their help in resolving this matter.”

“We have worked hard to identify an innovative series of alternatives to meet growing demand. With this agreement, we will present options for long term supply solutions that ensure our customers have the service they require and desire,” said John Bruckner President of National Grid New York. “With the resumption of service, providing support for those affected by the moratorium and further investments in New York’s long-term clean energy future, we are demonstrating our unwavering commitment to delivering on our top priority of providing safe and reliable service.” 

Sen. Kevin Parker

“National Grid’s moratorium on gas service was completely unfair for communities in Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island, and I want to thank Governor Cuomo for working to resolve this issue once and for all. National Grid has agreed to lift this moratorium immediately, and the company will present a long-term options analysis to ensure these impacted communities have the service they need in the future,” said Parker, chair of Senate Committee on Energy and Telecommunications.

As part of the agreement, National Grid will analyze and present viable options to address the long-term supply issue including renewable energy sources, conservation strategies, a new pipeline, LNG facilities, CNG facilities and interoperable systems.

National Grid will analyze these options over the next three months and present them to the public in an open and transparent manner through a series of public meetings in Queens, Brooklyn, Nassau, and Suffolk. These meetings will be conducted in coordination with local elected officials.

The state will also appoint a monitor to oversee National Grid’s gas supply operations. The monitor will report to the state and the Public Service Commission, and will be paid for by National Grid.

If the conditions of the agreement are satisfied, the PSC will not proceed with revocation of National Grid’s operating certificate. There are two additional open orders to show cause pending against National Grid by the PSC that must be resolved.