Ithaca, N.Y. — Local residents and businesses are being denied their applications to be supplied with natural gas because of opposition to a new pipeline in Dryden, according to the New York Electric and Gas Corporation.

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The failure to meet the Ithaca area’s energy needs is detailed in a report, republished by The Voice below, sent last month by NYSEG official Mark O. Marini to New York state’s Public Service Commission.

The report shows that several factors — including NYSEG’s inability to win easements for the Dryden pipeline — have forced the gas utility to turn down those seeking natural gas in their homes.

“(NYSEG) continues to receive requests for incremental natural gas services from both new and existing customers in its Ithaca franchise area,” the report states.

“Due to current pressures on the distribution system on cold weather days and design-day predicted pressures in the Lansing area, NYSEG cannot provide the requested incremental natural gas service at this time ”

In a follow-up email, NYSEG spokesperson Clayton Ellis explained that about a dozen requests have been denied so far.

“As our February 9, 2015 letter to the PSC indicates, we are no longer able to accept additional applications for natural gas service from new or existing customers in the area indicated on the maps that accompany the letter,” Ellis said.

Here’s that map:

Ellis said that the “solution to the problem is the natural gas distribution main extension we have proposed from Dominion Transmission’s Freeville gate station along West Dryden Road to Lansing. As we indicate in the letter, we will consider all available options to accommodate future service requests.”

“…Our Ithaca-area natural gas delivery system is at its capacity and needs to be upgraded to enable us to continue to provide safe, reliable service to existing customers and to serve new development projects and homes in the Lansing and Dryden areas,” he said.

Still, the project has run into a barrage of opposition from those who say it will increase the area’s dependence on natural gas when renewable, alternative energy sources should be the priority.

Irene Weiser, council member for Caroline, said that she has “tremendous concerns” over the West Dryden Road pipeline, in part because “it is way oversized relative to whatever kind of demand they say they need to meet.”

She acknowledged it could be challenging to think about meeting energy needs in new ways, but added that there are many forms of support and incentives both locally and at the State level to help shift to using renewable energy.  ​

NYSEG on gas needs


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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.