Navigating the Westchester County Natural Gas Moratorium as a Homebuyer

So, you’ve just purchased your dream home in beautiful Westchester County, but there's a catch—your new residence comes with oil heat, and you had your heart set on natural gas. You might be wondering what your options are, especially considering the Natural Gas Moratorium put in place by Con Edison in 2019. Don't worry, I've got you covered! Let's take a look at what the moratorium means for homebuyers like you and what steps you can take.

What is the Moratorium All About?

Firstly, it's essential to understand what the moratorium means. Initiated on March 15, 2019, Con Edison stopped accepting new applications for natural gas connections in most of Westchester County. This moratorium affects:

  • New residential, commercial, and industrial customer gas service connections.
  • Incremental firm gas load on existing accounts.
  • New gas usage for heating, hot water, laundry, and cooking.

What This Means for You

If you were considering converting your new home from oil heat to natural gas, the moratorium adds a layer of complexity. Due to the restrictions, you generally won't be able to switch to a natural gas connection unless you fall under specific exceptions.

Any Exceptions to the Rule?

While the moratorium is quite comprehensive, there are some exceptions:

  • Seeking interruptible service.
  • Connecting a natural gas-fueled emergency generator.
  • Small business customers in the food/beverage industry.
  • Residences in the northernmost sections of Westchester County.
  • Existing natural gas customers planning renovations that add a negligible amount of gas load.

None of these scenarios likely apply to you as a new homebuyer looking to switch from oil to gas for heating, unfortunately.

What are the Alternatives?

As you navigate this situation, you might want to consider alternative energy solutions for heating your home, such as electric or geothermal heating systems. With advances in energy-efficient technologies, these options have become increasingly viable and may offer long-term cost savings.

Looking Ahead

Con Edison has been working on increasing its natural gas capacity and reached an agreement for additional supply in April 2019. Subject to necessary approvals, this could potentially lift the current moratorium by November 2023. However, one of the planned gas pipelines for Southern New York fell through in 2020, so it is unclear when the moratorium will be lifted. 

Wrapping Up

Being a new homeowner in Westchester County is exciting, but the Natural Gas Moratorium can be a bit of a hurdle if you’re keen on converting from oil to natural gas. As we wait for potential changes in policy and capacity, exploring alternative energy solutions could be a worthwhile venture. Check out my blog on Different Types of Heating Systems to explore your options. 

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