NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Fresh off his success in forcing National Grid to provide natural gas to thousands of customers, Gov. Andrew Cuomo sets his sights on a new target — Con Edison — amid charges that the company’s moratorium on new gas hookups in southern Westchester County could delay development and leave some homeowners stranded.
On Tuesday, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer demanded answers.
The Yonkers waterfront is a beehive of development, with more than $3 billion worth of projects and 4,000 new apartments coming on-line. But Mayor Mike Spano worries whether the Con Ed gas moratorium will bring development in his city to a dead stop.
“There’s another 4,000 units to come on-line. How will this effect them? Will it suck the life out of this economic recovery we’re going through?” Spano said.
Already there have been reports of Yonkers businesses suffering.
“We have a restaurant where they’re not going to put gas into the kitchen,” Spano said.
And he’s not the only one raising issues about the Con Ed gas moratorium in southern Westchester, which went into effect in March. Retired New York City firefighter Richard Alexander said there are dozens of homeowners in his neighborhood, the Williamstown section of Mount Kisco, stymied by the moratorium from switching from oil to much less expensive gas.
“We’re outraged, to be honest with you,” Alexander said. “It’s a cleaner energy and for us we wouldn’t worry about fuel oil, the reliability factor.”
Both Alexander and Mayor Spano wonder if Con Ed should be forced to find more gas and end their moratorium, much as National Grid was ordered to do for its customers in Brooklyn, Queens and on Long Island.
“I really would implore the state to jump in, like you did in New York City, like you did in Long Island,” Spano said. “It can’t be that we’re just going to have a moratorium because it will eventually suck the life out of what is happening.”
Kramer took the issue to Gov. Cuomo.
“Governor, following in the steps of National Grid, I wonder what your going to do about the gas moratorium Con Ed has in place,” Kramer asked.
“We are going to be going through the same process. We are fine with a legitimate discussion, but we are not going to be bullied. We’re not going to be pressured. We’re not going to be extorted. Con Edison, like National Grid, has a franchise by the state to provide gas, if we like the way they’re doing it,” Cuomo said.
Con Ed spokesman Michael Clendenin responded, saying, “No one wants a moratorium, but capacity constraints have reached a point in most of our Westchester service area where we cannot safely connect new firm gas customers and meet all of their needs on the coldest winter days.”
Cuomo told Kramer he will talk to Con Ed about lifting the moratorium sometime after the holidays. Meanwhile, the utility said it continues to connect about 1,600 customers who notified the utility before the moratorium that they would need hook-ups.
There are also about 90 customers on a waiting list.