Public Service Commission launches groundbreaking planning process to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the state’s natural gas distribution system

Commission sets rules on potential natural gas moratoriums

ALBANY, NY — May 12, 2022 — The New York State Public Service Commission (Commission) today adopted gas planning procedures that will result in natural gas utilities submitting plans consistent with emissions reduction goals state greenhouse gases. The Commission also adopted new rules that set out the process for establishing, operating and lifting a natural gas moratorium.

“The gas planning procedures we are adopting today will ensure that gas utilities continue to provide safe, adequate and reliable service while striving to meet greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. of the state,” said Commission Chairman Rory M. Christian. “In addition, our new procedures will enable increased stakeholder engagement by creating opportunities for timely and meaningful input to ensure that all voices and positions are heard.”

Modernizing gas planning procedures is important so that local gas companies’ long-term plans are subject to transparent review and ensure they are in line with state policies while ensuring that utilities gas can continue to provide safe and adequate service. This critically important gas planning process has been ongoing for over two years; numerous parties, including those representing large customers, environmental advocates, individuals and affected local gas utilities filed comments. Staff held a stakeholder conference to discuss the proposal on March 25, 2021, and public hearings were held in May 2021.

Going forward, utilities will be required to file documents with proposed long-range plans every three years. Dossiers must include at least one scenario without new traditional gas infrastructure and quantify greenhouse gas emissions. Each repository will begin a stakeholder engagement process, aimed at developing a long-term consensus plan. Utilities will also be required to provide annual updates of their long-range plans. Additional phases of this process will address issues such as avoided cost of gas, depreciation and legislative/legislative changes necessary to ensure reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

In a related decision, the Commission today adopted new rules that set out the process for establishing, operating and lifting a moratorium on natural gas, and cover issues such as the parameters used to identify the supply gap, communications, a statement of customer rights, training and awareness materials, and information on low- and middle-income customers and impacts on disadvantaged communities.

These new rules are important considering that in some areas of the state, gas utilities are already operating under moratorium conditions based on natural gas supply constraints, and such circumstances could recur. in the future. Consequently, moratorium management procedures must be implemented quickly in the event of the adoption or cancellation of additional moratoriums.

By providing a uniform, transparent, and streamlined process for initiating, operating, and lifting a natural gas moratorium, the Board can minimize impacts to customers while ensuring safe and adequate public service. The recent experience with moratoriums in the service territories of various gas utilities demonstrates the need to have clear procedures in place if moratoriums are deemed necessary in the future. The moratorium management procedures adopted today will ensure customers statewide understand when, where, and how a natural gas moratorium may be imposed, and will provide details and a customer bill of rights to ensure that all moratoriums are invoked, managed and lifted. in a fair, equitable and transparent manner for all consumers, including underserved and disadvantaged communities.

Today’s decision can be obtained by accessing the Commission Documents section of the Commission’s website at www.dps.ny.gov and entering docket number 20-G-0131 in the input area entitled “Find the file/case number”. Many libraries offer free Internet access. Commission documents may also be obtained from the Commission Records Office, 14th Floor, Three Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY 12223 (518-474-2500).

###

SOURCE: James Denn | New York State Civil Service Commission

Louisa R. Loomis