NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A Queens family is the latest victim of National Grid’s ongoing gas moratorium.
The couple saved for decades to buy a home in Jamaica, Queens.
With two kids in college, they’re now paying mortgage on an empty house, and rent for a temporary apartment.
Their son tells Jessica Moore they feel like pipeline pawns.
“Your life is on hold, is that fair to say?” Moore asked Talwinder Singh.
“It’s very fair to say. For a year, this house is empty,” he said.
At only 21, he’s learning the difficult lesson that hard work doesn’t always pay off.
“My parents… they worked for 25 years and they finally get to buy a house,” he said. “Every rule is followed, inspections passed, no corners were cut, but they still cut the gas.”
Singh and his family saved for decades to buy and renovate a house on 143rd Street in Jamaica.
Two months ago, they called National Grid to turn their gas back on, but were given the standard line CBS2’s been reporting on for weeks: No new pipeline under New York harbor to increase capacity, no gas for customers.
“They said we can’t do anything until the city and mayor do something about the pipeline, they can’t do anything,” Singh said. “At this point it feels like we’re pawns in a bigger political game. They’re using us to make their statement, and holding gas hostage from people until their point gets across.”
Singh says his family poured their life’s savings into the new house. With no other gas company to provide service, they are now scrambling to come up with money to convert the home to electric heat.
“Your parents have two kids in college, paying rent and mortgage. How difficult is that on the family?” Moore asked.
“It’s very difficult,” Singh said. “Personally, I think National Grid shouldn’t be the only company that has so much power.”
Con Ed, which also has a gas moratorium, has a totally different policy. Small business owners and customers planning renovations can reconnect once the job is complete as long as it doesn’t add to much to the gas load.
But for customers in Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island, National Grid is the only option, and the utility is now denying gas to roughly 2,600 customers as we head into the fall and winter months.
Moore again called National Grid to demand answers and asking an for an interview with president John Brucker.
“It’s Jessica Moore from CBS2 calling again with another family being denied gas. We’d like to interview John Bruckner about the moratorium,” she said in a phone call.
Since CBS2 began demanding answers, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered an investigation into National Grid.
Singh says he hopes the governor will try to put himself in the shoes of thousands of people whose lives are on hold while the investigation plays out.