Hearing asks officials, Con Ed to hold off on natural gas moratorium

Elected officials joined dozens of ratepayers in White Plains to voice concerns at a public hearing over a looming natural gas moratorium by Con Edison.
The public service commission hearing Wednesday was held at the White Plains Library. The packed room of ratepayers and elected officials asked Con Ed to hold off on its natural gas moratorium.

“The average residential rent is about $3,000 per month per unit. That’s $36,000 per year for each of those units. The lost rental income from this will be $576 billion per year in Westchester County,” says Westchester County Executive George Latimer.

The temporary suspension of new gas service in Westchester is set to begin March 15, too soon for developers who rely on gas to revitalize the county.

“This is an issue of the Public Service Commission and Con Edison treating the business community and the citizenry as though we live in a third-world country. Giving us six weeks to come up with a solution, otherwise you're turning off the spigot, that is unconscionable,” says developer Joe Apicella.
Con Ed says the moratorium is necessary, following an increasing natural gas demand and an inability to meet projected future demands.
The company says its goal is to move toward cleaner gas options.

Environmentalists from advocacy group Safe Energy Rights say the moratorium is an opportunity to end the use of fossil fuels and switch to renewable energy sources.
The hearings are part of the Public Service Commission's investigation into the moratorium.
Although the findings aren't due until July, the Con Ed moratorium is still scheduled to start next month.