YONKERS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Con Edison has put a moratorium on new gas lines, a move some say is stifling growth amid a building boom in Westchester County.
Signs of development are all around, from cranes in the air, workers on the ground and thousands of new apartments going up on the river’s edge, reports CBS2’s Jessica Layton.
The waterfront development would make any municipal leader proud.
“Just transforming Yonkers,” said Mayor Mike Spano. “There are so many wonderful things happening.”
Spano is worried all that’s happening could come to a halt as the utility moves toward a moratorium on new natural gas service.
“That represents about a billion dollars in economic development that will just stop,” he said.
“There are state and local leaders calling this a catastrophe for development,” said Con Edison spokesperson Mike Clendenin. “It’s a difficulty for many people and the challenge will be finding alternatives to natural gas to serve heating and cooking purposes.”
Con Ed says demand for natural gas for homes and businesses has skyrocketed in recent years, and parts of Westchester including New Rochelle and White Plains can’t get more gas,
“Gas constraints are no secret,” said Clendenin. “Without new gas supplies, we can’t keep hooking up new gas customers.”
The Con Ed freeze on new gas service won’t affect current customers, and they’ll take applications for new hook ups through mid-March.
But Mayor Spano says that doesn’t matter. Even the conversation about a moratorium he says is enough to make current and prospective developers uneasy
“These big pocket developers are going to move to other communities and that’s extremely unfair,” he said, adding he’s escalating his concerns to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.
A spokesperson for the Public Service Commission says Con Ed did not propose a pipeline to meet or address growing demand.
“It’s not that our hands are being tied,” said Clendenin. “We will be proposing new non-pipeline solutions, and time goes forward and innovations continue.”
CBS2 checked with other utilities on whether they had any similar constraints.
New York State Electric & Gas said it does not have the same issues as Con Ed, while National Grid says it’s asked for an upgrade to its existing pipeline to handle increased demand.
Late this afternoon Westchester County Executive George Latimer said he’s requested a meeting with Con Edison to learn more about the situation.