Photo Courtesy of Sen. Addabbo’s Office
“We cannot be held hostage by National Grid,” Sen. Addabbo said. “That’s extortion.”
By Michael V. Cusenza
State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach) has introduced two pieces of legislation to protect constituents as the National Grid controversy heats up, even as fall arrives in South Queens.
The lawmaker and the utility apparently are at odds over the proposed Northeast Supply Enhancement Pipeline. According to Addabbo, National Grid “has embarked on a public relations campaign” claiming they are unable to provide utility service without the new pipeline. However, a pipeline exists in the area for decades and even if the new one were to be approved, it would take several years to come online and begin to supply service. The senator has said that a utility company with a monopoly and refusing to provide essential service to a resident or business must be held accountable.
“National Grid is denying gas service to many of my constituents, mainly because of the State’s opposition, including mine, to the proposed Williams pipeline,” Addabbo said. “My first concern is and always has been, for the people who I represent and in this instance, those who are still trying to return to their homes more than six years after Superstorm Sandy or attempting to open a new business. National Grid’s moratorium on gas service to new and existing homes and businesses is completely unnecessary and unacceptable.”
The first measure, according to Addabbo, would seek to define access to utility service as a basic civil right for residents, along with clean air and clean water, and make responsible utility companies liable if they refuse to provide such service.
The second bill would establish a task force to study backup energy in New York where energy provider is unable or unwilling to provide such service, will look at other available options. The study would include the current ability of the State to provide backup energy and the feasibility of utilizing technologies such as batteries for backup power, solar power, wind power, fuel cells, alternate utility suppliers and any other measure the task force deems relevant.
“We cannot be held hostage by National Grid,” Addabbo said Tuesday night at the Howard Beach Lindenwood Civic Association meeting. “That’s extortion.”
The senator also noted that he has “long opposed fracking and the process of hydraulic fracturing of gas, which I believe to be dangerous and to have a negative impact on our environment. I know there’s a need for different sources of energy, but I do not believe spending approximately $1 billion on a pipeline that would be obsolete in 10 years is the right direction for us to take. I vowed to continue working towards addressing the energy needs and efficient practices of our state, which is why I introduced legislation this week to create a backup energy task force.”
Addabbo said the need for a resolution in the matter is urgent.
“New Yorkers deserve to receive basic utility service, clean air and clean water as a civil right and they must not be used as means for a personal agenda or economic gain,” the senator added.