Na­tional Grid to con­nect cus­tomers, pay penal­ties

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Mary Esch Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. >> A util­ity that im­posed a nat­u­ral gas hookup mora­to­rium in parts of New York City and Long Is­land af­ter the state re­jected its pipe­line plans re­cently agreed to re­store gas ser­vice and pay $36 mil­lion in penal­ties, Gov. An­drew Cuomo said.

“This agree­ment is a vic­tory for cus­tomers,” the Demo­crat 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.”

Cuomo said the util­ity has iden­ti­fied short-term sup­ply al­ter­na­tives to serve all cus­tomers and new ap­pli­cants for the next two years. The com­pany also must present an anal­y­sis of long-term op­tions to res­i­dents of Brook­lyn, Queens and Long Is­land within three months, with a long-term plan to be in place by next fall.

Long term op­tions may in­clude re­new­able en­ergy sources, con­ser­va­tion, a new pipe­line, liq­ue­fied nat­u­ral gas fa­cil­i­ties and com­pressed nat­u­ral gas fa­cil­i­ties, Cuomo said.

Na­tional Grid im­posed a mora­to­rium on new gas hookups in the area af­ter New York reg­u­la­tors blocked con­struc­tion of a $1 bil­lion 37-mile pipe­line from Penn­syl­va­nia to New Jersey and New York in May. Na­tional Grid said the pipe­line was crit­i­cal to meet ris­ing de­mand for nat­u­ral gas in the metropoli­tan re­gion.

Ear­lier this month, Cuomo threat­ened to re­voke Na­tional Grid’s li­cense to op­er­ate in the

south­ern part of New York, where it sup­plies gas to 1.8 mil­lion cus­tomers, if the mora­to­rium wasn’t lifted. Cuomo said Mon­day that the Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion won’t pro­ceed with that re­vo­ca­tion if the con­di­tions of the agree­ment are sat­is­fied.

“We have worked hard to iden­tify an in­no­va­tive se­ries of al­ter­na­tives to meet grow­ing de­mand,” John Bruck­ner, pres­i­dent of Na­tional Grid New York, said in a state­ment. “With this agree­ment, we will present op­tions for long term sup­ply so­lu­tions that en­sure our cus­tomers have the ser­vice they re­quire and de­sire.”

The $36 mil­lion penalty will be used to com­pen­sate cus­tomers ad­versely im­pacted by the mora­to­rium and to sup­port en­ergy con­ser­va­tion and clean en­ergy projects, Cuomo said.

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