Suggestions to improve St. Lawrence County

Your editorial (“Self-imposed blockage,” Sept. 10) regarding natural gas and the state’s investigation into National Grid was wrong on the facts.

New York’s review of proposed inter-state natural gas pipelines is always exclusively focused on whether water quality standards would be met.

If a proposed project will comply with water quality standards, the state will issue the required certificate.

If a project will not comply, the state will deny the certificate.

It’s that simple.

Regardless of how another state agency makes permitting decisions, utilities regulated by the Public Service Commission cannot deny service to existing customers that do not increase demand in violation of the law.

When the governor learned National Grid was denying service to some existing customers who simply suspended existing service for renovations (including those for Superstorm Sandy), he directed the Department of Public Service to expand its investigation into Grid’s moratorium to review these cases.

If National Grid cannot properly fulfil its obligation to provide for its existing customers, we should investigate, and we are.

As you note, New York state has an aggressive plan to reduce greenhouse gases and demand for fossil fuels that is commensurate with what the science tells us is needed.

The state has real plans and solutions in place to start this transition today, by scaling energy efficiency in buildings and rapidly expanding clean heating and cooling technologies.

The Watertown Daily Times should get behind Gov. Cuomo’s plan rather than support dangerous hydro-fracking.

Making these upgrades cost-competitive and attractive to consumers not only helps our climate goals, it also ensures we are not reliant on any one energy source and that we keep more of our energy dollars in-state to grow our economy and create jobs in all corners of New York.

John B. Rhodes

Albany

The writer is chief executive officer of the state Department of Public Service.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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(1) comment

rdsouth

Is refusal to extend service not a defacto admission that natural gas is not a natural monopoly since customers can switch to propane or electric heating? Given plans to phase out natural gas heating, it's probably understandable that National Grid wouldn't want to invest in rebuilding or extending lines. Why put money into an industry whose days are numbered? If that's what's going on here then fracking has nothing to do with it. What has everything to do with it is exactly the plans to shift to all green energy. Businesses aren't vengeful, they're calculating, and they care more about the future than the past.

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