New York State PSC embarks on plan to examine natural gas usage, investments

Published on March 23, 2020 by Dave Kovaleski

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The New York State Public Service Commission is analyzing natural gas usage and investments in the state to better plan for future energy needs.

“Recent events have shown that we need smarter, more comprehensive and more transparent planning by utilities for gas infrastructure and clean energy alternatives,” Commission Chair John Rhodes said. “It is essential for protecting New Yorkers and ensuring they have the infrastructure they need and minimizing what they don’t; it’s critical to ensuring reliability, keeping costs down, and advancing State policies.”

The commission will look at constraints that may be caused by a shortage of pipeline supply capacity, an inadequacy of distribution infrastructure to deliver available pipeline supply or a combination of these and other factors. Utilities are being asked to report their analysis of supply and demand balance — current and projected — for each municipality within its territory, including any projects to address the imbalance that are planned or underway.

Also, the commission is calling for a comprehensive proposal to modernize gas planning processes for future needs that minimize lifetime costs.

In addition, it will look at energy efficiency, electrification, clean demand response, and temporary supply to reduce the need for gas infrastructure and investments. These solutions should be built into the gas utility planning process, using criteria that include reliability, practicality, environmental impact.

Also, the commission will look at setting standards to justify a gas moratorium and establish clear steps that must be taken after that, including notification procedures.

The commission notes that demand-side resources, such as energy efficiency and electrification, are currently under consideration in separate commission proceedings. These findings could aid in optimizing the deployment of the resources required to meet planning needs and minimize infrastructure investment.