National Grid Lifts NY Service Moratorium

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(PLN) – National Grid has reached an agreement with the state of New York to immediately resume connecting natural gas service to customers in Brooklyn, Queens and on Long Island for approximately the next two years as the company pursues other long-term solutions to the shortage of natural gas in the region.

National Grid announced a moratorium in May claiming that without the construction of Williams Energy’s $1 billion Constitution natural gas pipeline, which New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had recently blocked, the company would not have the necessary supply needed to facilitate the long-term increase in demand.

In response to the moratorium, on Nov. 12, Cuomo threatened to revoke the National Grid’s license to operate in New York within 14 days if the company did not immediately connect over 1,100 customers who had been denied service.

Just days before the deadline National Grid released a statement saying it has agreed to connect those customer applications put on hold due to the moratorium and to start processing all new applications. In addition, National Grid will offer $7 million in customer assistance to address hardships as a result of the moratorium.

The standoff risked leaving thousands of customers without gas right at the start of the winter season. In its statement, the company says it has been working to identify new solutions to serve customers this winter and next and has agreed to a plan with the State that includes:

  • Significantly enhanced demand response
  • Energy efficiency programs to reduce the demand for natural gas at peak times
  • And increasing reliance on portable compressed natural gas

National Grid has also agreed to spend $8 million on new energy efficient, gas conservation measures designed to relieve stress on the system and reduce peak-day gas usage during the two-year period.

In the statement, the company held to its assertion that the region still faces supply constraints and over the next three months, the company will explore long-term options, including the Constitution Pipeline, and will present its findings to the local communities. A long-term solution is to be agreed upon with the State by June of 2020.

As part of the agreement, National Grid will also invest $20 million in clean energy projects and businesses in New York.

John Bruckner, President of National Grid, New York said, “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.”

An independent monitor will be appointed by the Department of Public Service to oversee National Grid’s compliance with the agreement.

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