The New York Power Authority will participate in a plan unveiled on March 14 that aims to provide immediate relief to Westchester County, N.Y., businesses and residents affected by Con Edison’s announcement that it will put new applications for firm natural gas service on a waiting list beginning March 15.
Along with NYPA, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the New York Department of Public Service (DPS) announced the Westchester Clean Energy Action Plan.
In January, investor-owned ConEdison said the demand for natural gas in its service area has been experiencing significant growth primarily due to the construction of new buildings, the opening of new businesses, and conversions from oil to cleaner-burning natural gas in existing buildings.
“But all of this new demand for gas is reaching the limits of the current supplies to our service area,” the utility said. “As a result, and to maintain reliable service to our existing natural gas customers on the coldest days, we will no longer be accepting applications for natural gas connections from new customers in most of our Westchester County service area beginning March 15, 2019.”
Con Edison said there are some areas in the northernmost sections of the county where it has more capacity and may still be able to accept new customers and noted that existing customers will not be affected by the moratorium.
Plan to provide local investment
As the DPS independently reviews Con Edison’s claims of a shortage in natural gas supply, the state is advancing a $250 million Westchester Clean Energy Investment Plan to provide local investment in clean energy alternatives such as electric heat pumps, high-efficiency appliances, equipment and building materials that “will lower energy costs for consumers and reduce demand in order to accommodate new customers,” a March 14 news release related to the plan said.
Elements of the investment plan include $165 million in grants from a package that the New York Public Service Commission recently directed Con Edison to deploy toward heat pumps and increasing gas efficiency for residential, multifamily and commercial and industrial customers and an additional $53 million in clean energy incentives and investments that NYSERDA will provide to Westchester customers.
The plan also includes an additional $32 million in low-cost NYPA financing services for its Westchester customers to retrofit heating systems with clean energy alternatives. NYPA is committing to provide energy audits and screenings to support its governmental customer base and identify alternative options.
Additional details on the plan are available here.