Making heat from dirty electricity instead of gas benefits no one.
In January, Consolidated Edison, citing lack of pipeline capacity needed for natural gas,announced a moratorium on new natural gas hookups in Westchester County. This shortage has arisen because the Cuomo administration has refused to site new natural gas pipelines that would bring shale natural gas from Pennsylvania. If left unaddressed, it will prevent Westchester from developing new housing or office space to meet the growing New York City region’s considerable demand.
To address Con Ed’s moratorium, the New York Public Service Commission issued an order in February authorizing Con Ed to spend $220 million to reduce demand for natural gas with energy efficiency and “beneficial electrification” solutions. According to Public Service Commission Chairman John Rhodes, these “non-traditional solutions” to an artificial natural gas shortage will benefit Con Ed customers and protect the environment. Following its February order, in March the PSC announced that the New York Power Authority and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority would be chipping in another $85 million to promote energy efficiency programs for Con Ed’s customers.
Jonathan A. Lesser, PhD, is an adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute and the president of Continental Economics, an economic litigation and consulting firm.
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