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Cuomo To Blame For Westchester Gas Crisis, NY Post Editorial Says

Con Edison
Con Edison Photo Credit: Kempter's Fire Wire

There has been plenty of finger pointing and proclamations made since Con Edison announced its planned gas moratorium in Westchester. Now one of New York’s biggest newspapers is turning its gaze toward Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The New York Post Editorial Board released an opinion piece over the weekend, stating that the proposed moratorium - which takes effect on March 15 - is the fault of the governor.

“Let’s face it: Even if the state forced Con Ed to sign up new customers, the utility still couldn’t deliver gas it doesn’t have,” the Post wrote. “Yet this disaster is entirely self-inflicted. To suck up to climate-change radicals, who hope to do away with all fossil-fuel-based energy, Gov. Cuomo has been slow to OK new pipelines. In response, pipeline companies have lost interest in New York.

“Absent new gas supplies, businesses and residents will shun the county. No one will freeze, but Westchester faces new economic drag.”

Westchester officials requested this month that Con Ed hold off on their announced moratorium as they gather information and seek solutions. In response, Con Ed stated that at this point it’s a simple matter of “supply and demand,” and that at some point the supply will run out, potentially before the March 15 deadline.

“We do not need to tell you that the news has sent a chill throughout the development community,” officials said. “Given the number of projects already advancing in our cities, towns, and villages, from major redevelopment in cities like New Rochelle, Rye, White Plains, and Yonkers, to the smaller residential, commercial, mixed-use, and school construction projects taking place throughout the county, we are deeply concerned about the potential economic headwinds coming from such a resource crunch.

“Those headwinds, on top of several other factors, could prove painful for our constituents and for the local economy. That could, in turn, have a ripple effect in terms of home prices and property values that further depress local economic development.”

When they announced the moratorium, Con Ed said that “the demand for natural gas in our 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,” they posted on their website. “But all of this new demand for gas is reaching the limits of the current supplies to our service area.”

In a statement, Con Ed noted that, "to address the supply-demand imbalance and help existing customers reduce the amount of gas they use, we are pursuing non-pipeline solutions that will reduce our reliance on fossil fuels through innovative, clean-energy technologies. On Feb. 7, the New York State Public Service Commission approved our portfolio of innovative solutions aimed at lowering the demand for natural gas through energy efficiency and demand response programs, along with programs to help customers with alternative technologies that reduce natural gas usage, such as heat pumps. In addition, the Commission encouraged us to pursue more non-pipeline solutions, noting that the approved measures are the 'early stages of a long-term, comprehensive approach.’"

The moratorium is expected to impact communities south of Bedford, Mount Kisco and New Castle.

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