Coverage of Energy and Telecommunication News & Policy Across New York State

What’s Inside

  • Governor’s 30-Day Amendments Exempt Agriculture Buildings from Gas Ban
  • New Yorkers for Affordable Energy Release Poll on Governor’s Gas Ban
  • Governor Announces Resources to Help New Yorkers Save on Home Energy Bills
  • NYSERDA Updates DCFC Charging Program
  • Legislative Update
  • Regulatory Update
  • In The News

Governor’s 30-Day Amendments Exempt Agriculture Buildings from Gas Ban

The Governor issued 30-Day amendments to her budget proposals last week. Included among the amendments were two exemptions to the Governor’s proposal to prohibit fossil-fuel heating equipment be used in new construction or existing buildings by varying timelines. The first is a newly included exemption for agriculture buildings. The details are left to building code council to define what constitutes an agriculture building.

Another new exemption includes the emergency replacement of existing fossil-fuel equipment or building systems. This would allow for the replacement of such systems in the event of an emergency. While emergency replacement is not defined, it is assumed this is in reference to failure of fossil-fuel heating equipment during the heating season as a building retrofit would require more time to perform and would likely be difficult to achieve on short notice.

New Yorkers for Affordable Energy Release Poll on Governor’s Gas Ban

The New Yorkers for Affordable Energy (NYAE) coalition released a press release regarding polling results from a survey conducted by the Siena College Research Institute which, according to the coalition, demonstrates that large majorities of New Yorkers – especially in Upstate and Western New York – strongly support keeping natural gas as part of the state’s energy mix.

Some key findings include:

  • 87% are concerned about the costs that consumers will have to absorb moving away from heating with natural gas, propane, or oil;
  • 83% of consumers say they are not willing to pay more than $100 more a month on their energy bills;
  • 80% are concerned that switching all buildings to being all-electric will result in power outages;
  • Western New Yorkers strongly opposed measures to phase out gas appliances including new construction (68%), and a phase out in existing residential homes (65%);
  • Three-quarters of all respondents use natural gas in their homes. Of those, 60% would be either very (35%) or somewhat (25%) upset if they no longer had the option to use natural gas for cooking. Nearly two-thirds of all respondents are either not very (29%) or not at all (33%) familiar with the provisions of the CLCPA, and;
  • Two-thirds of respondents across all demographics don’t think we can generate enough electricity to heat our buildings and hot water on the plan’s timeline.

It is difficult to assess the results of the poll as the coalition has decided not to make the crosstabs public, or at least requires a specific request for the information. At the time of this writing, we have not been able to review the results of the poll, but, if presented with the crosstabs a more thorough analysis will follow.

Governor Announces Resources to Help New Yorkers Save on Home Energy Bills

The Governor announced the availability of resources to help New Yorkers save on their home energy bills. A second emergency benefit through the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) is now available for eligible New Yorkers in danger of running out of heating fuel or having their utility service shut off.

HEAP is federally funded and can help eligible New Yorkers heat and cool their homes. Normally, eligible households can receive one regular HEAP benefit each winter and could also be eligible for a single emergency HEAP benefit if they face an energy crisis. Those that have already received a regular and emergency benefit this winter will be able to apply for an additional emergency benefit, if they are facing a utility shut off or are running out of heating fuel and cannot afford to replenish it.

The amount a household receives from HEAP depends on income, household size and how the home is heated. A family of four can earn up to $5,485 per month and still qualify for assistance. A needy household that heats with oil and qualifies for a regular HEAP benefit and two emergency benefits could receive nearly $3,000 in total assistance this winter.

The Governor said:

We are at the peak of this winter season which can lead to higher heat and energy bills, and my administration will continue to take action to make utilities more affordable in New York. It is important for New Yorkers to take advantage of the State’s cost assistance and residential programs to help reduce these energy costs. Following these tips can help save money and protect our vulnerable populations during the cold season.