(Reuters) – Friday energy company New York, Consolidated Edison Inc., said it is still proposed to impose a moratorium on a new natural gas service in parts of Westchester County after March 15 despite a $ 250 million plan by the state. to reduce energy use.
"The moratorium will remain effective after March 15," said spokesman Con Edison, Allan Drury, noting that the company must stop new gas customers to interfere with the reliability of the gas system as Due to limited space on existing interstate pipelines into the region.
Westchester County is north of New York City.
New York State blocked the building of new credible pipelines for environmental reasons for years and Governor Andrew Cuomo and other state officials seeking to focus utilities more on renewable power sources and energy efficiency and infrastructure programs.
However, consumers want access to more gas to heat homes and businesses because it is cheaper and cleaner to burn than oil. This winter, Northeast families, on average, are expected to spend $ 723 to heat a gas and $ 1,646 with oil, according to federal estimates.
Drury said that Con Edison has received more than 1,300 applications for new gas hookups since he pointed out the moratorium's situation on January 17, much more than the number the company normally receives during a two-month period.
On Thursday, the state announced a number of steps totaling $ 250 million to reduce energy consumption and fund alternative energy programs.
The state said that the programs will provide "immediate relief for businesses and residents of Westchester County affected by Con Edison that it will place new applications for a secure natural gas service on a waiting list starting on 15 March."
The programs, which are estimated to reduce energy consumption equivalent to the amount of gas required to heat over 90,000 homes, include funding for clean energy options such as electric heat pumps and high efficiency appliances.
The problem with these programs is that they only reduce demand, do not increase gas supplies.
In order to provide gas to more customers and maintain system reliability, Con Edison has stated that it needs more programs to reduce demand and reduce interstate pipelines and storage facilities.
Some energy companies have tried for years to build gas pipelines from the Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania to New York, but Albany regulators rejected some of these projects, such as Williams Cos Constitution Constitution Inc..
(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)