How Can We Stop National Grid from Using Our Money to Poison Us?

Power company seeks massive rate hikes to continue building fossil fuel infrastructure like Newtown Creek LNG plant

Harry Boardman Apr 5

As a UK citizen living in Brooklyn, I’ve witnessed the unjust greed of National Grid firsthand. This London-based power company has left millions struggling to pay unfair bill increases while lining its pockets with record profits. I couldn’t escape this greed when I relocated to Flatbush just over two years ago. I found a National Grid envelope in my mail containing a utility bill that was a stark reminder of their exploitation. This personal experience compelled me to join the Sane Energy Project and the No North Brooklyn Pipeline campaign to fight against National Grid’s exploitation of ratepayers and the planet.

It’s urgent that we stop National Grid’s rate-hike proposal. This company is using our money to poison us. The proposed bill hike would burden consumers with an average increase of $33.84 per month (+28.82%) for National Grid customers in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island and $34.79 per month (+30.69%) for Long Island customers. This financial burden would disproportionately affect vulnerable communities and exacerbate socio-economic disparities. 

We need to pass the NY HEAT Act, the leading climate legislation of 204. 

For example, National Grid’s most expensive proposed project for this rate hike is the reinforcement of the massive 117-acre Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility on Newtown Creek in North Brooklyn, costing nearly half a billion dollars. It was built on the land that is the birthplace of this country’s oil refining industry under Rockefeller’s Standard Oil and is currently sinking as a sited 100-year floodplain. It is also the spot of North America’s largest terrestrial oil spill, creating a site so toxic that it is now under the federal Superfund program with EPA oversight on cleanup efforts. 

The looming white cylinders filled with LNG are visible as one crosses the Kosciusko Bridge on the BQE. It is a precarious storage location for a volatile product, adjacent to residential communities like Cooper Park Houses and Beadel Street. If an explosion were to occur, like the incident in Staten Island in 1971 that killed 43 workers, we would have a catastrophic situation with a product that burns so hot that even water cannot extinguish it. 

We know the fossil fuel industry is a finite business. As renewable energy becomes a bigger part of the global conversation and states like New York pass climate laws specifying end dates to gas expansion limiting greenhouse gas emissions, utilities are responding by building and expanding gas infrastructure to squeeze as much money out of this toxic business model as possible before its final days — ensuring that we are held captive by gas for heating and cooking, rather than moving to economical and cleaner systems like Thermal Energy Networks

We have the power to shape the future of climate action in New York. We can reject future rate hikes by sending comments and signing Sane Energy’s petition to the Public Service Commission. We can also call our legislators and Governor Hochul to demand the passing of the NY HEAT Act, the leading climate legislation of 2024, to cap our energy bills and remove subsidies from the fossil fuel industry. We can act locally to shut down National Grid’s toxic facility in a planned and orderly manner. We will hand deliver the petition in Albany in early May, so add your name!  

Harry Boardman is a campaigner with SANE Energy.

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