National Grid agrees to connect customers, pay penalties

State News

(AP Photo/ Christian Monterrosa)

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — 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 has agreed to restore gas service and pay $36 million in penalties, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday.

“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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