NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)Con Edison says it has a deal to end the gas hookup moratorium, a halt on new development that many fear will derail growth in Westchester County.

But there’s a catch: It will take years before hookups could resume, reports CBS2’s Tony Aiello.

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The Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company brings natural gas from the Gulf Coast to White Plains and ties into the Con Ed distribution system.

In March, Con Ed cut off new gas hookups, saying the system had reached its maximum capacity.

Now the utility says Tennessee Pipeline can increase supply by upgrading compression equipment without building a new pipeline.

“I’m glad they’re thinking outside of the box,” said John Ravitz of the Business Council of Westchester. “They should be commended for that, but we need to go further.”

In New Rochelle, workers are digging a trench for the service line that will connect new buildings to the Con Ed gas grid, work approved before the moratorium.

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(Credit: CBS2)

Con Ed says with the new pipeline arrangement, it can lift the moratorium – but not until 2023.

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Natural gas is much better for the environment than oil, but hardcore environmentalists fear building out gas infrastructure will slow the march towards renewable energy sources and lock communities into a fossil fuel future.

Many in Westchester who support wind and solar generation say renewable infrastructure cannot be built fast enough, and natural gas must continue to play a role.

“We have to have a responsible conversation on how to have that package,” said Ravitz. “That package can include renewables but it also must include the potential for expanding pipeline.”

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The utility serving Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island says it too needs pipeline expansion or those regions will also face a moratorium on gas hookups.