Gas Utilities in NYC
Natural gas currently fuels a significant percentage of cooking needs and about 65% of heating requirements in New York City (NYC) buildings. Additionally, it fuels almost all (more than 98%) of in-city electricity produced by power plants. Between 2005 and 2013, U.S. natural gas production increased at an unprecedented 33% across the board.
In 2016, the New York State Code Council updated both the commercial and residential provisions of the State’s Energy Code that are based on the International Energy Code 2015.
Con Edison owns and operates the gas distribution system in the Bronx, Manhattan, and parts of Northern Queens. National Grid owns and operates the rest of the City’s system including Upstate NY, Rhode Island, and Long Island. These two utility companies alone are authorized to deliver energy in the form of natural gas. However, once the gas service has been installed, consumers may choose any approved energy service company (ESCO) to provide the supply. So, if we do your gas piping design and installation, we deal with the relevant utility company, depending on where you live or where your building is located. You then decide which energy service company you will buy gas from.
The way the system works is that there are privately-owned interstate pipelines that transport natural gas from the Gulf Coast in Western Canada, Texas, and other points of production to interconnection points known as City gates. It then enters the NYC facilities system from where it is drawn at high pressure and piped to power plant facilities that generate electricity, as well as to steam plants. Gas is also piped to hundreds of district regulator stations where the pressure is reduced before it is sent into a vast network of underground distribution mains.
The original gas infrastructure of all U.S. cities comprised low-pressure pipework made of bare steel and cast iron. The modernized system mains are made of coated steel and plastic that can accommodate a high-pressure system and are considerably more efficient. Operators of the gas system have gradually been replacing the outdated portion of the mains and upgrading it to a high-pressure system.
In a report titled A Stronger, More Resilient New York, released by NYC in 2013, comprehensive, actionable recommendations were laid out in an attempt to increase the resilience of buildings and infrastructure. Recognizing that the demand for natural gas peaks on cold, winter days, the two utilities ask large users and plants generating electricity from natural gas to switch to liquid fuels. This is simply because the capacity of the interstate pipelines can exceed demand.
As the report points out, new pipeline connections for NYC represent significant advances in the City’s initiatives towards cleaner burning fuels – specifically oil versus natural gas.