Fed up with his long fight with National Grid, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered the state's Public Service Commission (PSC), which regulates utilities, to begin a formal revocation process of the company's license to operate in New York state.
"They have 14 days to explain to the people of this state what the alternatives are, and there can't be a moratorium," the governor said in a phone interview with NY1 on Tuesday morning. "We are not going to stop building until they have it their way."
National Grid said it received the governor's letter and will review it and respond within the 14-day deadline.
National Grid has imposed a moratorium on new gas hookups for customers in Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island. The action came after the Cuomo Administration blocked a pipeline from being built underneath New York harbor. The pipeline would have shipped in natural gas from Pennsylvania, ensuring adequate supply for years to come, although it was vehemently opposed by environmentalists.
In a statement, Republican State Senate Minority Leader John Flanagan, said, "Winter is coming, and our new businesses and our homeowners should not have to suffer while the Governor bullies National Grid and continues to have his Department of Environmental Conservation refuse the needed permit to build the Williams Pipeline."
"I don't accept the premise that if there is no pipeline, there is no gas," Cuomo said. "Their job was to provide a plan for future supply. That's one of their essential responsibilities."
Critics say Cuomo's interference with the PSC also raises troubling questions about abuse of power.
"The big problem with this is that our utilities are supposed to be independently regulated," said Ken Giradin of the Empire Center. "There is a reason why the Public Service Commission is set up with five appointees and has other rules on it. It's because it's not supposed to be a weapon that the governor can use."
This is not the first time Cuomo has targeted a utility. He has repeatedly criticized Con Edison after blackouts and a subway power outage.