NY utility pushing pipeline says it will connect customers
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A New York utility company said Friday it will immediately begin connecting over 1,100 customers who were denied service after the state rejected an application for a new pipeline.
National Grid's statement followed the New York Public Service Commission's order Friday that called on the company to connect those customers.
The commission's chair said the law requires utilities to provide gas service without delay when there's sufficient supply. Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed the state to investigate National Grid's potential negligence and said that the pipeline wouldn't be in service until at least next year.
"Make no mistake, New York will hold National Grid accountable," Cuomo said.
A statement released by the utility company said they were "disappointed" in the commission's decision but they would comply and connect applicants identified in the order.
"With the current regional natural gas capacity constraints, long-term guaranteed supplies are still needed to connect customers and to maintain the safety and reliability of the gas system for all customers," the statement said.
National Grid is now seeking temporary solutions for the region's "very real gas supply constraints," according to the statement.
The utility's proposed nearly $1 billion pipeline would bring natural gas to New York from Pennsylvania's shale gas fields.
National Grid is the region's second utility company to impose a gas hookup moratorium citing limited pipeline capacity.
In March, Con Edison imposed a moratorium on new hookups in a swath of New York's northern suburbs, saying its existing pipeline network couldn't satisfy rising demand driven by new construction.
Also on Friday, New Jersey denied permits for a $1.1 billion, roughly 120-mile (193-kilometer) long pipeline that would bring Marcellus Shale natural gas to New Jersey.
PennEast Pipeline Company has argued the pipeline would bring jobs and needed low-cost natural gas to homes in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.
But environmental groups have worried such projects will cut a scar across the landscape and harm wildlife.