- Consolidated Edison announced on Wednesday an agreement with the owners of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline, which currently serves the utility, to increase its capacity by 110,000 dekatherms a day.
- The additional capacity, the equivalent of 110 trillion British thermal units, will be enough to lift Con Edison's moratorium on new gas hookups in Westchester County, north of New York City. To deliver the increased capacity, the pipeline's distribution system will require upgrades to compression facilities outside of the state, according to the utility.
- The project requires approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as well as state and local agencies, according to a spokesperson from pipeline owner Kinder Morgan Energy Partners. Con Edison would lift the moratorium once the capacity is available, expected by November 2023, according to the press release.
Northeast utilities have warned of the need for new gas capacity in the region as customers prioritize cheaper, cleaner-burning natural gas over oil-based heating. Con Edison announced the moratorium in January, fearing future constraints on the coldest days.
The moratorium prompted state regulators to take action, approving $223 million in measures in February to reduce system demand, including through efficiency and electrification.
But demand has been on the upswing as existing buildings convert from oil to natural gas. The Westchester area has a growing amount of applicants for gas connections as new buildings are constructed and new businesses are opened, Con Edison said.
Con Edison stopped accepting applications for new natural gas connections in most of its Westchester service area on March 16. Since then, the utility said it has received 1,600 applications in the moratorium area. The utility currently provides natural gas to approximately 1.1 million customers in New York for their heating and cooking needs.
"Con Edison has entered into an agreement with Tennessee Gas Pipeline to purchase 110,000 additional dekatherms of natural gas capacity to alleviate the current moratorium in Westchester County upon completion of the project," Anne Marie Corbalis, Con Edison spokesperson, told Utility Dive via email.
Upgrading existing compression facilities is part of an effort to increase gas capacity without constructing a new pipeline, contributing to Con Edison's efforts to advance renewables, alternative technologies and "non-pipe" solutions, the utility said in its press release.
The utility is exploring non-gas heating options in the county, pointing customers toward state rebates from the New York State Energy Research and Department Authority, including geothermal and air source heat pumps. Other options to further the electrification of heating in Con Edison's service area include solar thermal and baseboard electrical heating.
Con Edison is working to develop additional proposals that will allow customers to take advantage of clean energy incentive programs.