ICYMI: 80+ Groups Demand Gov Put NY HEAT in Final Budget

Gas Infrastructure costs New Yorkers $$$ and Undermines the Climate Act

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ALBANY, NY (04/26/2023) (readMedia)-- Last week, over 80 advocacy groups including Sierra Club, Environmental Advocates NY (EANY), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), and Earthjustice sent a letter to Governor Hochul demanding she include the NY HEAT Act in the final budget. The letter states:

"New York's gas utilities have a gas system planning proposal and rate cases in front of the Public Service Commission (PSC) that will raise gas bills for customers to pay for costly gas infrastructure that is unnecessary and unstrategic, but is effectively required by outdated provisions of the Public Service Law."

Without NY HEAT, utilities have the greenlight to make billions of dollars in investments in unnecessary gas line extensions. Thanks to the 100-foot rule – which requires utilities to hook up all new customers to gas infrastructure – the cost falls on the backs of every day New Yorkers. The advocates say to the Governor: "These investments will create a rate crisis on your watch, disproportionately borne by the most vulnerable gas customers." NY HEAT would also cap energy expenditures at 6 percent of household income, saving New Yorkers up to $1,000 every year on their utility bills.

Read the full text of the letter attached or below:

Dear Governor Hochul:

We are writing to urge you to step in now during final negotiations on the state budget to protect New Yorkers from rising utility bills and unnecessary gas expansion by insisting on the inclusion of the NY HEAT Act.

New York's gas utilities have a gas system planning proposal and rate cases in front of the Public Service Commission (PSC) that will raise gas bills for customers to pay for costly gas infrastructure that is unnecessary and unstrategic, but is effectively required by outdated provisions of the Public Service Law. Without the immediate passage of NY HEAT, utilities' plans would greenlight billions of dollars of investment in unnecessary gas line extension subsidies and leak prone pipe replacements. If NY HEAT is not passed this session, these unstrategic plans will guide utility investments for many years to come due to the fact that both the gas system planning process and utility rate cases operate on three-year cycles.

A recent study found that gas infrastructure is becoming increasingly expensive, costing rate payers $6 million per mile and at the same time undermining our Climate Act, which requires us to phase out nearly all gas use by 2050.

These investments will create a rate crisis on your watch, disproportionately borne by the most vulnerable gas customers. You have the ability to prevent this by enabling the Public Service Commission to require utilities to invest in neighborhood-scale electrification projects (such as thermal energy networks) in strategic areas where gas pipelines are old or degraded. Without the passage of NY HEAT, utilities have no choice but to continue investing in the gas system instead of these alternatives and to pass those costs on to customers. A recent analysis by Synapse found that leak prone pipe replacements will cost NY gas utility customers $150 billion, or an average of approximately $35,000 for every gas customer in the state.

The NY HEAT Act also includes important consumer protections for low and moderate income families, who already suffer under the weight of unaffordable energy bills. The legislation would codify the state's stated goal that no one should pay more than 6% of their income for energy. This provision would put an average of $1,000 back into the wallets of low and middle income New Yorkers every year, and demonstrate your commitment to an affordable energy transition.

According to the Climate Action Council Scoping Plan, New York must substantially reduce use of fossil gas, especially in the buildings and electric sectors, and transition the vast majority of gas utility customers to electricity for heating and hot water. Accordingly, the Scoping Plan's Gas System Transition chapter calls for a well-planned, strategic downsizing of the gas system as quickly as possible in order to maximize environmental benefits and minimize "stranded costs" that ratepayers, taxpayers and shareholders will have to pay for long after the gas infrastructure is of use.

The Final Scoping Plan approved by the Climate Action Council clearly demonstrates that the economic, health and environmental benefits of transitioning to clean energy far outweigh the costs. But to ensure a just and orderly transition that delivers these benefits, New York's Budget must include the elements of NY HEAT that will align utility regulation with the CLCPA and codify protections for low and moderate income customers.


Jessica Azulay, Executive Director, Alliance for a Green Economy

Betta Broad, Director, Advocacy & Organizing, Association for Energy Affordability

Kim Fraczek, Director, Sane Energy Project

Roger Downs, Conservation Director, Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter

Lisa Marshall, Director, Advocacy & Organizing, New Yorkers for Clean Power

Conor Bambrick, Director of Policy, Environmental Advocates NY

Sonal Jessel, Director of Policy, WE ACT for Environmental Justice

Christopher Casey, Senior Attorney, NRDC

Stephan Edel, NY Renews, Coalition Coordinator

Sadie McKeown, President, Community Preservation Corporation

Dale Bryk, Senior Fellow, Regional Plan Association

Julie Tighe, President, NYLCV & NYLCVEF

Mary Barber, Director, Regulatory & Legislative Affairs, Environmental Defense Fund

Arif Ullah, Executive Director, South Bronx Unite

Cari Gardner, New York Progressive Action Network

Alex Beauchamp, Northeast Region Director, Food & Water Watch

Tim Guinee, Legislative Action Director, NY Climate Reality Chapters Coalition

Michael Hernandez, Rewiring America

Amber Johnson, NY Energy Democracy Alliance

Liz Moran, New York Policy Advocate, Earthjustice

Bob Cohen, Policy and Research Director, Citizen Action of New York

Billii Roberti, NY Mothers Out Front Leadership Team member

Nicole Abene, Senior NY Legislative & Regulatory Manager, Building Decarbonization Coalition

Chris Halfnight, Senior Director of Research and Policy, Urban Green Council

Elena Weissmann, Northeast Regional Director, Vote Solar

Ryan Puckett, BPCA-NY Board Member and General Manager with Wise Home Energy

Anne Rabe, Environmental Policy Director, NYPIRG

Sara Gronim, co-leader, 350Brooklyn

Susan Van Dolsen, Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion

Manna Jo Greene, Environmental Director, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Inc.

Carmi Orenstein, Program Director, Concerned Health Professionals of New York

Jess Mullen, Communities for Local Power

Clare Henrie, The Climate Solutions Accelerator of the Genesee-Finger Lakes Region

Charley Bowman, WNY Drilling Defense

Eve Lukens-Day, Program Coordinator, Energy Allies

Taylor Plante, Citizens' Climate Lobby-Brooklyn

Adam Flint, Director of Clean Energy Programs, Network for a Sustainable Tomorrow

Uchenna Bright, Northeast Advocate, E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs)

Diane Beckwith, Concerned Citizens of Lansing

Clarke Gocker, Director of Policy and Strategy, PUSH Buffalo

Lisa Tyson, Director, Long Island Progressive Coalition

Martha Sickles, Urbecon LLC

Jonathan Bix, Executive Director, For the Many

Natalie Polvere, Co-Chair, NYCD16 Indivisible Environment Committee

Renee Vogelsang, New York Director, Frack Action

Andy Mager, Coordinator, Syracuse Cultural Workers

Mary Finneran, FrackBustersNY

Mary Smith, Church Women United in New York State

Sharon Sherman, Executive Director, Greater Syracuse Tenants Network

Mark Dunlea, Green Education and Legal Fund

Anne Pernick, Senior Advisor, SAFE Cities at Stand.earth

Jennifer Scarlott, Coordinator, Bronx Climate Justice North & North Bronx Racial Justice

Sarah Schnabel, Owner of LaMorte Electric, Member of Tompkins County Climate and

Sustainable Energy Board

Daphany R Sanchez, Executive Director, Kinetic Communities

Peter Bardaglio, Coordinator, Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative

Guy Jacob, Conservation Chair, Nassau Hiking & Outdoor Club

Jay Solly, Co-Founder & CEO, Sustainable United Neighborhoods

Brian Eden, Policy Coordinator, Campaign for Renewable Energy

J Ferretti, Coordinator, No North Brooklyn Pipeline Alliance

Melissa Everett, Executive Director, Sustainable Hudson Valley

Kier Blake, Co-Founder, Start:Empowerment

Gay Nicholson, President, Sustainable Finger Lakes

Jeffrey Courter, Reverend, Social Justice Committee, Presbytery of New York City

Pete Sikora, Climate & Inequality Campaigns Director, New York Communities for Change

Joseph Montuori, Executive Director, Sustainable Putnam

Shiv Soin, Co-Executive Director, TREEage

Paul Kiesler, Climate Reality Project NYC

Eunice Ko, Deputy Director, New York City Environmental Justice Alliance

John Flack, Reverend, Our Saviour's Atonement Lutheran Church

Glenn Jacob, Executive Director, New York Interfaith Power & Light

Jerry Rivers, North American Climate, Conservation and Environment (NACCE)

Christine Hoffer, Executive Director, NY-GEO

Alÿcia Bacon, NY Organizer, Mothers Out Front New York

Yvonne Taylor, Vice President, Seneca Lake Guardian

George Povall, Executive Director, All Our Energy

Francesca Rheannon, Co-Chair, Climate Reality Project Long Island

Laurel Tumarkin, Organizer, Peoples Climate Movement - NY

Thomas Hirasuna, Co-Chair, Climate Reality Finger Lakes Greater Region NY Chapter

Michael Richardson, Core Organizer, Rivers & Mountains GreenFaith

Susan Hughes-Smith, Partner, Roctricity LLC

Margaret Reilly, Co-Leader, Climate Crisis Working Group (IMV)

Mazeda Uddin, CEO, South Asian Fund For Education Scholarship and Training Inc

Patricia Wood, Executive Director, Grassroots Environmental Education

Michael Heimbinder, Executive Director, HabitatMap

Nada Khader, Executive Director, WESPAC Foundation, Inc.

Cc: New York State Legislators