New York Session Ends: Key Energy Bills Stalled, Some Progress Made

Posted by Kristina Persaud on Jun 20, 2024 12:30:00 PM

Mixed Results for Energy Legislation in NY Session

The New York State legislature gaveled out in the early morning hours of June 8, marking the end of a tumultuous legislative session and leaving many bills, including some key United-championed pieces of legislation, unpassed. 

Notably, the NY HEAT Act failed to pass before the end of session. NY HEAT, among other things, would have repealed the 100-foot rule to eliminate ratepayer subsidies for the natural gas system, prioritized the state’s energy efficiency programs and non-pipeline alternatives, and provided additional regulatory tools to protect customers from increasing energy bills as gas utility companies shrink in size as more consumers move to cleaner, more efficient electric heating options. Instead, we’re left with the unsustainable status quo prevailing for at least another year and meaningful progress to define or implement solutions to keep heating affordable is stalled again. The lack of action on NY HEAT will leave New York gas customers on the hook for at least another $200 million for soon-to-be-obsolete infrastructure. Albany must find a path forward in 2025 before a full-blown gas affordability crisis is upon New Yorkers.  

Another key piece of legislation that will not become law this year is the Build-to-Need Act, which died in committee. This bill included a proactive strategy to empower utilities to strengthen the grid, rather than patching together makeshift solutions as we go. It included innovative, cost-saving alternatives like load management technology and flexible interconnection to balance charging demand with grid conditions. Failure to prioritize the timely and efficient upgrades to our power grid outlined in the Build-to-Need Act could mean we cannot affordably meet the energy demands of tomorrow. 

United worked hand-in-hand with policymakers throughout the session and continued meeting with key legislators, including leadership throughout the final days of session. Despite our efforts, the condensed session, when combined with Governor’s Hochul last-minute announcement delaying congestion pricing, complicated negotiations. 

In spite of the rushed and distracted nature of this year’s session, it was not without its bright spots. We are pleased with the passage of the Grid-Enhancing Technology (GETs) and advanced conductors legislation. Modeled after United’s work in Massachusetts, this bill requires utilities to consider and deploy advanced technologies for grid upgrades when cost-effective. GETs can play a critical role in alleviating grid constraint by optimizing existing power line infrastructure. These technologies will help meet increasing electricity demands as we work on longer-term transmission infrastructure build-out. Now that the legislation has passed both houses, we await the Governor's signature by the end of the year.  

It’s clear that our work in Albany is far from over. As New York struggles to navigate its increasing electricity load demand and clean energy transition, United remains committed to working with legislators in 2025 to advance solutions that will make the Empire State a cleaner, more affordable place for all New Yorkers. 

Topics: State Policy, Transmission, New York, Building Decarbonization



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