CON EDISON MORATORIUM ON NEW NATURAL GAS APPROVALS FIRM.

Natural  Gas Conservation Efforts Urged.

An extension of moratorium not prudent.

Moratorium a safety precaution to avert massive shutdowns of metropolitan areas if Natural Gas demand exceeds available supply.

Rhode Island shutdowns show peril of gas shortage.

WPCNR THE POWER STORY. By John F. Bailey. February 7, 2019:

A Consolidated Edison spokesperson told WPCNR Wednesday the moratorium on natural gas fueled new approvals and installations after March of 2021 was firm.

An extension of the Con Ed “moratorium” on new natural gas  connections after March 15, puts the area at risk of natural gas shutdowns if demand for natural gas exceeded supply in high demand periods.,spokesman Bob McGee said. 

He cited the shutdown of natural gas to 10,000 gas customers in the Newport area two weeks ago as what happens when gas supply is exceeded by demand.

Hopes expressed earlier this week by Westchester County officials of the county and its cities and towns leaders and local business associations, that the March 15 deadline  on new applications announced by Con Edison January 29, could be moved up  much farther out into the future by the Public Service Commission appear doubtful.

Con Edison took a look at what they had in already approved projects, and the gas supply, and the demands the approved projections will put on the system, McGee told WPCNR. Based on the anticipated demand two years out and the demand for natural gas for heating, Con Ed decided to impose the moratorium.

McGee said that projects approved now by Consolidated Edison the company can handle. However new projects not submitted by March 15, would not be considered (immediately). Projects already approved for a connection would be continued, but installation had to be completed by 2021.

Consolidated Edison has alerted officials of the growing demand for natural gas. In August, 2018, Con Edison pointed out in a news article the growth of natural gas demand since 2014-15.

“During the winter heating season in 2014-15, ConEd relied on delivered (gas) services for 5% of its gas needs, but by winter 2017-18, delivered services (for gas) reach 17%. The company expects delivered services to meet 22% of gas needs by 2023 unless the region gets access to new pipeline capacity,” the company said in the article.

A New York State Public Service Commission approved a gas demand response pilot program that the PSC said could meet (only) 1% of the pipeline capacity shortfall by 2023.

Earlier in October 2017, Con Ed warned again of the exponential gas demand. A Con Ed spokesman was quoted, noting “(construction of gas pipelines) is not keeping pace with growing demand.”

McGee referred to the Newport, Rhode Island gas outage two weeks ago as evidence of why the moratorium and focus on conservation is needed to avoid demand for gas beyond capacity: 

Thousands of people have to be turned off from the gas supply, and then have to be returned on one pilot light at a time.

The New Haven Register reported January 24 that during the near zero temperatures of two weeks ago, Marylee Hanley, spokesperson for Enbridge the company that manages the Algonquin gas pipeline, said “Our initial analysis indicates that the primary loss of natural gas service were an unusually high demand for natural gas on the Algonquin pipeline due to cold temperatures that exceeded the system’s supply capability, coupled with an equipment malfunction(failed valve), which temporarily restricted available natural gas supplies,” Hanley said.

“There appears to be a number of other contributing factors that may have exacerbated the conditions leading to the loss of service. We continue to collaborate with the local gas company and assist in any way we can with gas service restoration efforts.”

Approximately 10,000 persons were affected. National Grid crews were going door-to-door restoring service.  To read the New Haven Register story on this consequence of natural gas over demand situation. Copy the following link and Go to

www.nhregister.com/business/article/Pipeline-company-says-high-demand-for-gas-may-13559645.php

FIOS 1 interviews Con Ed Director of Media Relations

In an interview with FIOS 1- recorded Wednesday, January 30, (apparently before Con Edison briefed county officials on the moratorium), Michael Clendenin, Director of Media Relations was interviewed on the need for the moratorium. Con Edison provided this link to that interview to WPCNR:

That interview can be seen in its entirety here:

Mr. McGee told WPCNR that buildings and developments can avert a loss of power due to a gas cutoff by installing a backup system which can be switched over for power to run heating systems. Such customers are known as “Interrupted Customers” which are automatically switched over in the event the gas supply is “interrupted.”

McGee said ultimately that the solution to the gas supply demand is for advanced storage facilities to reserve gas coupled with conservation demands.

Asked if the Public Service Commision had completed its review of Con Ed restoration of Westchester County in the highly criticized effort to repower 100,000 customers (over 10 days), McGee said he was not aware of any timetable for that PSC report or any disciplines. He suggested WPCNR contact the PSC.

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