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National Grid customers will foot portion of Gowanus Canal cleanup bill

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As a named polluter of the canal, National Grid has to contribute to the remediation effort

Max Touhey

Some National Grid customers in Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Queens will be left to carry a portion of the Gowanus Canal cleanup cost, as the state’s Public Service Commission voted on Tuesday to approve a bill increase that would help the natural gas and electricity company pay its share of the price to remediate and enhance the canal.

DNAinfo reports that some customers bills will go up about $9.40 per month starting in January, and are expected to go up another two percent come 2018. That collected sum will go towards the $3 billion effort to beef up infrastructure and enhance storm resiliency.

National Grid, as one of the groups responsible for the canal’s pollution, must contribute to the Environmental Protection Agency’s $506 million clean-up of the site. National Grid owns three properties surrounding the canal, which it also must pay to decontaminate.

The two percent increase in 2018 is only anticipated if its canal cleanup costs exceed $25 million, which it most likely will. The Public Utility Law Project projects that canal cleanup will cost around $700 to $800 million.

A National Grid spokesperson says that the company it believes the outcome of Tuesday’s vote “achieves a fair and reasonable outcome” but AARP New York state director Beth Finkel and PULP executive director Richard Berkley said in a joint statement that it’s “simply not fair to impose its costs on current ratepayers.”