NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Gov. Cuomo’s anger at National Grid has boiled over.
In a stunning move, he ordered the state’s public utilities regulator to explore potential grounds for revoking the company’s license.
He also slammed his own agency, the Public Service Commission, for not preventing customers from become pipeline pawns, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported Thursday.
A little over a week ago, John Bruckner, president of National Grid New York, proudly took Kramer into his command center to show off his gas pipeline system. Now he faces the very real possibility that the system will be taken over by someone else, because he declared a gas moratorium that denied natural gas to 3,700 customers.
“This is corporate abuse and I’m not going to allow it to continue. I’m just not. They have a franchise from the state. It is not a God-given right,” Cuomo said.
The governor is so furious at National Grid for refusing service to legions of homeowners and small business owners in Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island that he fired off a furious letter to the head of the state Public Service Commission — PSC — ordering him to explore grounds for revoking the company’s license.
He demanded to know, “When and how we eliminate an abusive utility from the state to protect consumers,” Kramer reported.
But he didn’t stop there. He slammed his own agency, the PSC, the regulator of state utilities, for not riding heard on National Grid, requiring the company to have alternate means of getting natural gas to the area while the construction of a new and controversial pipeline is in dispute.
“How the heck did we get here?” Cuomo said. “What are the alternatives? You could use oil. You could truck in gas.”
And what if Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York don’t approve the pipeline?
“What are the alternatives that we actually have to the pipeline? What was the plan?” Cuomo said.
A spokesperson for PSC Chair John Rhodes said, “The PSC chair shares Gov. Cuomo’s concerns about the seriousness of this issue. We are collecting the required data and will be responding quickly.”
CBS2 has been reporting on the pipeline pawns for months. It was only after we demanded answers that the governor got actively involved. First he got the PSC to order National Grid to restore service to more than 1,100 customers.
“They’re going to be fined for that, which is very disturbing that they would do that,” Cuomo said.
Sources told Kramer the fines could be substantial — tens of millions of dollars. Sources also said that either Con Ed or PSE&G would be able to take over the franchise. A spokesperson for National Grid said the company is committed to working with “all parties to address these critical supply constraints.”