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You are here: Home Section Table Shout it Out Con Edison Declares Moratorium on New Gas Service as of March 15
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Con Edison Declares Moratorium on New Gas Service as of March 15

ConEdMapClaiming there is insufficient infrastructure for natural gas service for a good swath of Westchester County, Con Edison has announced a moratorium on new residential, commercial and industrial gas service to customers starting March 15, 2019. The moratorium could have far reaching effects on the local economy as it limits the availability of energy resources for new construction.

In addition to new projects, the moratorium also applies to those seeking additional gas service for heat, hot water, stoves and laundry. So anyone seeking to expand their home or commercial property would need to use a secondary energy source to heat and cool the additional square footage.

The announcement comes after years of Con Edison’s push to convert local customers from “dirty fuels” such as oil heat to natural gas.

According to information on the utility’s website, you may still be able to connect to natural gas if you meet the following criteria:

Small business customers in the food/beverage industry may email us to find out if gas is available prior to signing a lease. No new services will be installed, but they may be able to use an existing service for cooking.

Customers in the northernmost sections of Westchester County. These areas are served by a less-constrained gas transmission pipeline.

Customers with planned renovations who already have natural gas. You can reconnect your gas service provided that the renovations do not add a significant amount of gas load.

Claiming there is insufficient infrastructure for natural gas service for a good swath of Westchester County, Con Edison has announced a moratorium on new residential, commercial and industrial gas service to customers starting March 15, 2019. The moratorium could have far reaching effects on the local economy as it limits the availability of energy resources for new construction.

In addition to new projects, the moratorium also applies to those seeking additional gas service for heat, hot water, stoves and laundry. So anyone seeking to expand their home or commercial property would need to use a secondary energy source to heat and cool the additional square footage.

The announcement comes after years of Con Edison’s push to convert local customers from “dirty fuels” such as oil heat to natural gas.

According to information on the utility’s website, you may still be able to connect to natural gas if you meet the following criteria:

-Small business customers in the food/beverage industry may email us to find out if gas is available prior to signing a lease. No new services will be installed, but they may be able to use an existing service for cooking.

-Customers in the northernmost sections of Westchester County. These areas are served by a less-constrained gas transmission pipeline.

-Customers with planned renovations who already have natural gas. You can reconnect your gas service provided that the renovations do not add a significant amount of gas load.

We spoke to Con Edison’s spokesmen Alfonso Quiroz from the media relations office who explained that Con Edison aims to move customers to renewable solutions like geothermal heating by 2040. Why the shortage? Quiroz said there were attempts to build new pipelines to service southern Westchester but no projects were approved.

When asked what alternatives homebuilders would now have Quiroz suggested electric baseboard heat or geothermal. However, electric heat is significantly more expensive than natural gas to run and is dependent on Con Edison’s electric grid whi often fails in Scarsdale. The upfront costs of installing a geothermal heat system are higher than natural gas and require specific ground conditions and land.

Quiroz said the utility would continue to take applications for new or expanded service until March 15.

We asked Scarsdale Deputy Village Manager Rob Cole a few questions and here is what he shared:

Q: Is there really a shortage of natural gas or is Con Edison using the moratorium as a bargaining chip to raise rates or build a pipeline?

A: The regulating authority, the New York State Public Service Commission, would be the best entity to contact concerning the validity of Con Ed’s representation of a capacity constraint in their natural gas delivery infrastructure; we don’t have reliable data at the local level to make an informed statement on the subject at this time.

Q: Does the Village have any leverage to negotiate?

A: The Village of Scarsdale will collaborate with other Westchester communities impacted by the moratorium, working in coordination with County and State officials to address our concerns.

We also asked local home developer Bobby Ben-Simon for his views on the move. He said, “At this point I’m not affected, but it is a very serious issue. Con Edison has become, public enemy # 1. I’m sure many residents still remember the disastrous effect that was created by Con Edison in 2007. NY State should find ways to break up this company. When there is monopoly, the consumer always loses.”

Fearing the effect of the moratorium on billions of dollars of development planned for Westchester County, on Monday February 4, County Executive George Latimer asked the Public Service Commission to delay the implementation of the moratorium to give the county time to adopt an action plan.

On January 31 Con Edison applied to the NYS Public Service Commission for a rate increase on electric and natural gas that would go into effect in 2020. The average monthly bill for a residential gas customer, using on average 100 therms per month, would increase $17.28 to $176.34, according to Con Edison, an increase of 10.9 percent.

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