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National Grid hit with ultimatum over gas moratorium months after Lynbrook rally

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Three months after Lynbrook hosted a rally seeking to put an end to a gas moratorium imposed by National Grid, Gov. Andrew Cuomo threatened to revoke the company’s operating license if it fails to fix its supply issue.

“Why didn’t he do this right away?” Lynbrook Mayor Alan Beach said. “That would have been so much relief for everybody. We held a rally months ago.”

Beach and the village board hosted a rally in August opposing National Grid’s moratorium. Several elected officials, business owners and Chamber of Commerce members spoke about the effect that the lack of gas hookups had on the downtown.

Last month, Cuomo threatened to fine National Grid millions of dollars unless it restored service to 1,100 customers who were denied service re-connections after the company recently sought approval for a controversial gas line.

National Grid, the state Department of Environmental Conservation, and New York and New Jersey elected officials have been at an impasse over a rejected $1 billion, 24-mile gas supply pipeline. Some 2,400 applications for new gas hookups have been denied on Long Island in the aftermath, including at several local businesses in Lynbrook.

Dominic Natoli, who owns the recently opened Il Pozzo Wine Bar & Kitchen on Atlantic Avenue, said at the August rally that the moratorium nearly prevented his business from opening. He added that he was worried about heating the restaurant in the winter, and that he and his partners made a significant investment in Lynbrook with the anticipation of finding success, but may struggle as the standoff persists.

“We’re on the cusp right now of having enough gas for our kitchen,” Natoli said. “Let’s stop this catfight and come to a reasonable solution for everybody, and we can see Lynbrook succeed with what we’re trying to do here.”

In a letter to National Grid’s U.K.-based Chief Executive, John Pettigrew, and New York President, John Bruckner, Cuomo on Nov. 12 wrote that National Grid had to respond with “any considerations I have overlooked, or present meaningful and immediate remedial actions you would propose, within 14 days.”

In a statement, the utility told the Herald that it was working on the situation. “National Grid is in receipt of the letter from Governor Cuomo and will review and respond accordingly within the timeframe outlined in the letter,” the statement read. “We continue to work with all parties on these critical natural gas supply issues on behalf of all our customers in downstate New York.”