Since mid-May National Grid has said, “No Go” to gas line hookups; as of May 15 they refused nearly three thousand new hookups. This is a strategy on their part to force the state to approve the Williams Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) Pipeline, which NY State has denied twice due its potential to cause detrimental environmental impacts to water quality throughout New York and New Jersey. National Grid argues they need the pipeline to support the increased demand for natural gas. “We’re honoring all customer commitments that were approved before we determined that we can no longer safely serve additional firm load in the absence of additional firm supply,” said Domenick Graziani, spokesman for National Grid, published in an August 23, 2019 Politico piece. When customers complain about the delay they are told by National Grid reps. to call their elected officials.
Elected officials have stood up to this utility’s bullying tactics. In late September Jumaane Williams organized a protest in front of 1 MetroTech Center, at National Grid’s HQ. Govenor Andrew Cuomo has been speaking out against this gas moratorium at regular intervals. He stated recently, “I think they may be trying to increase political pressure to get their pipeline approved, and the way they do that is by creating these situations where people are suffering real hardship.”
Several members of the NYC Council signed their support to a letter to John Bruckner, President of National Grid, dated July 31st. The letter questions the legitimacy of National Grid’s argument about needing the NESE pipeline for increased demand, due to the timing of their moratorium. The letter states, “As a utility provider, National Grid has a responsibility to provide firm alternative service to its customers, and to take reasonable methods to lessen capacity constraint, but instead you are holding residents of Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island hostage to your demands for unsafe, unsustainable drilling.” The letter urges the utility to resolve the issue before the colder months.