Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

National Grid: The Financial Vampire Sucking Consumers and the Environment Dry

Unless New York state regulators act now, the people of New York will remain vulnerable to one of the world's largest corporations.
Screen Shot 2021-09-20 at 10.09.22 PM
Photo: No North Brooklyn Pipeline / Instagram

National Grid wants to raise your bill by $30 a month. As a Brooklyn resident of over twenty years, living through a volatile economy bouncing on and off the rails like the last roller coaster car of Coney Island’s Cyclone, a $30 increase is exploitative and abusive.

National Grid is peddling a false narrative that more gas infrastructure is necessary for safety and reliability. This is a deceptive tactic, as National Grid is aware that its fracked gas is a toxic and finite pollutant and a technology that legally must be phased out of our buildings by 2050.

Continuing to invest in this outdated infrastructure will only result in stranded assets, financially burdening the people of New York for decades to come.

Multinational corporations like National Grid pose as a public good yet are solely concerned with private profit and maintaining an appearance as a good investment. To do so, they leverage their monopoly status in New York and exploit local resources and communities to maintain profitability, placing an unfair financial burden on local stakeholders.

Even more infuriating is that New York State’s climate law mandates greenhouse gas emissions be reduced by 85% by 2050. This preposterous rate hike is a last gasp to suck profit out of our communities and drain our future.

Beyond the financial burden, gas is toxic and volatile.  We often hear the term “natural gas,” yet this is a misnomer that the industry repeats to make gas appear clean. National Grid’s gas is attained by fracking, a process outlawed in 2014 by former Governor Andrew Cuomo, citing health and safety concerns found by the New York State Department of Health.  For example, just last year in Wappinger Falls, N.Y., a contractor for the Central Hudson utility company struck a 3/4-inch gas line, causing a house explosion that injured 15 people, including children and first responders.

Buried in a public response to questions from Sane Energy in 2023 about why rate hikes are needed, it was revealed in submitted maps to New York state that National Grid is irresponsibly proposing to build new pipelines beneath our homes. The very real danger of future unexpected gas explosions would follow. 

It is time to get this antiquated and combustible substance from the 19th century out of our homes and streets. This comes down to political will. Does New York want to be a renewable leader for the nation? 

We have achieved enormous civil engineering projects throughout our history.  In the 1950s, the United States built over a million miles of gas distribution pipelines, up from 25,000 miles in the previous decade.

Today, we should imagine the possibilities of a public works program to bring the innovation of thermal energy networks, one part of the NY HEAT Act, into our neighborhoods. Thermal energy networks remove heat from buildings and redistribute or store it to where it is needed. The water-filled loops of thermal energy networks, built by union labor, are one way to embrace innovation in our energy systems and move into the future. 

Our elected officials in Albany are entrusted to safeguard our collective well-being. Passing the NY HEAT Act into the New York State budget will protect our air and ensure an environment where our children and grandchildren can thrive. The NY HEAT Act ends old rules subsidizing new gas pipelines that lock us into a future filled with climate catastrophe. Perhaps most importantly, it facilitates a just transition for gas utility industry workers, creating unionized clean energy jobs that use existing skills like pipefitting. 

Over 100 state legislators have co-sponsored the law because they see the unlimited possibilities of transforming New York State into a future filled with green energy. Now is the time for Governor Kathy Hochul and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie to follow the lead of the people of New York and the legislators who are pushing to ensure their voices are heard. 

Priscilla Grim is the director of communications for Sane Energy, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit.