National Grid Relents in Gas Standoff That Hurt Real Estate – The New York Times
The moratorium left many in the region in a state of limbo. Developments were stalled as builders were unable to obtain natural gas hookups, business owners anxiously awaited requested upgrades and homeowners with suspended service worried about staying warm as winter approaches.
Natural gas consumption in the United States increased 31 percent between 2009 and 2018, according to data from the United States Energy Information Administration. Industry analysts have predicted the demand to continue to rise, since natural gas is both cheaper and cleaner than traditional heating oil.
Even as the available supply of natural gas has also increased, energy companies in the Northeast have been concerned about their capacity to provide service, since the bulk of natural gas production is produced far from the region.
While Mr. Cuomo has acknowledged the long-term supply shortage, he criticized National Grid for failing to do more to address it and staking its entire strategy on the pipeline.
In his letter to the utility this month, Mr. Cuomo accused the utility of fabricating the need for the moratorium and essentially holding would-be customers hostage over the pipeline — a position he reiterated in announcing the deal on Monday.
“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,” Mr. Cuomo said in his statement.
Among the utility’s solutions were trucking in compressed natural gas and renegotiating agreements with existing pipeline operators to provide more liquefied natural gas to National Grid’s system, officials familiar with the agreement said.
“We have worked hard to identify an innovative series of alternatives to meet growing demand,” the president of National Grid New York, John Bruckner, said in a statement.
The bulk of the $36 million penalty that National Grid is paying will also be used to invest in clean-energy initiatives and to find ways to offset customers’ demand for natural gas.
To ensure the agreement with National Grid is kept, the state will appoint a monitor — paid for by the utility — to oversee its gas supply operations.
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