National Grid has agreed to immediately lift its current moratorium on gas service to Queens, Brooklyn and Long Island, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday, less than two weeks after he threatened to revoke its certificate to operate it downstate gas franchise.
The embattled utility company has identified short-term supply mechanisms that will conservatively meet demand for approximately the next two years, allowing it to restore service to the more than 1,100 customers that it had refused and grant all pending applications. Additionally, National Grid will offer $7 million in customer assistance to address hardships as a result of the moratorium. It will invest $8 million for new gas efficiency and nearly $29 million to support energy conservation measures and clean energy projects in New York.
“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.”
An independent monitor will be appointed by the Department of Public Service to oversee National Grid’s compliance with the agreement.
“As winter begins, New Yorkers can rest assured that National Grid’s moratorium is finally over,” state Attorney General Letitia James said. “I am grateful that Governor Cuomo pushed National Grid to do the right thing and brought attention to this critical matter.”
National Grid instituted its moratorium after state regulators denied permit for the $1 billion Williams pipeline project over concerns that it would pollute New York Harbor during its construction. The pipeline would bring fracked natural gas from Pennsylvania to a terminus three miles off the coast on Rockaway Beach.
“Every decision we make is driven by National Grid’s commitment to provide safe and reliable service to our customers, including the decision to implement the moratorium,” National Grid Interim U.S. President Badar Khan said. “We understand the frustrations of everyone who experienced a delay in service during this period and regret that we did not provide more notice or explanation to our customers about the moratorium. We appreciate the opportunity to work with the governor’s office and the Department of Public Service to address these challenging issues.”
National Grid will present a long-term options analysis within three months, subject to a public review process in Queens, Brooklyn and Long Island. The long-term options will be in place and functioning in fall 2021.
“We have worked hard to identify a 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,” National Grid New York President John Bruckner said. “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.”
If the conditions of the agreement are satisfied, the PSC will not proceed with revocation of National Grid’s operating certificate.
“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,” Cuomo said.