Author Archive


January 18, 2024

Daniel Ortega takes the helm as permanent Executive Director, Organization reacts to budget, announces new goals for membership, advocacy, messaging, and policy.

ALBANY N.Y.: New Yorkers for Affordable Energy (NYFAE) held a virtual press conference today to announce new leadership, an aggressive strategy to recruit new members as well as its 2024 advocacy agenda, released in part in response to the Governor’s Budget Address.

Daniel Ortega, who has served as Interim Executive Director since the spring of 2023, was unanimously appointed to the position full-time by the NYFAE Steering Committee. Ortega is a life-long union activist and advocate for working families both in New York and New Jersey. He also serves as the Community Affairs Chief for Engineers Labor-Employer Cooperative Local 825.

“It is an honor to lead this coalition, which is the most consistent voice for energy sanity in New York State,” said Ortega. “Whether you are an elderly person living on a fixed income, a single mother living in a big city or a farmer struggling to make ends meet, affordable energy is a necessity-not a luxury. Politicians in Albany say they are focused on affordability. When it comes to energy, 2024 is their chance to put up or shut up.”

NYFAE represents a diverse coalition of labor and business organizations concerned about the impacts of New York’s rush to abandon the gas system that consumers still rely on, while exponentially raising costs for those who can least afford it. The NYFAE Steering Committee has representation from organizations including the Engineer Labor-Employer Cooperative (ELEC) 825, Power and Construction Group Inc., Enbridge Inc., National Fuel and Millennium Pipeline Co. LLC. Recruiting more members to the cause will be a major goal in 2024.

“NYFAE is the leading voice for common sense energy policy in Albany,” continued Ortega. “Since this organization was founded, we have not been afraid to take on difficult issues with the aim of moderating extreme policies that raise energy costs for families in New York. In 2023, we were a key voice opposing the proposed ban on natural gas service in existing buildings and in 2024, we will work to ensure that costly policies like the so-called NY HEAT Act do not become law, and somehow mitigate the detrimental impacts of a Cap and Invest strategy. If you agree with us that this is a top priority-we would welcome you into our coalition.”
The NY Heat Act, which passed the Senate in 2023, would direct the Public Service Commission to transition away from natural gas, discontinue parts of the natural gas system and force consumers to convert their homes and businesses to electricity. Language included in the budget would make this provision even worse, by setting a date certain of the end of 2025 to end investment in parts of the natural gas system. It would further impose a 6% cost cap that benefits a small group of customers, while imposing a massive energy tax on every other customer. Further, conversions to electricity will cost residents and businesses between $20,000 to $50,000, and provide no means for them to recover that forced investment. Finally, it would eliminate the “100-foot rule” that requires utilities to hook up new customers to the gas system if they are within 100 feet of an existing mainline.
“Defeating the NY Heat Act is our top goal this legislative session. We appreciate the Governor leaving large parts of it out of her State of the State and including only a modified version in her state budget. However, we are concerned about her embrace of abolishing the 100-foot rule and applying it only to gas and doubtful that her $50 million allocation through NYSERDA will cover the costs associated with a 6% income cap. We will continue to speak out on this important issue and educate lawmakers on its negative impacts for both working men and women and consumers more generally.”
As part of NYFAE’s new advocacy approach this year, the organization is also developing and will be promoting an affirmative legislative agenda that highlights affordability and consumer choice. Among the ideas that the organization is likely to pursue are:

An Energy “Tax Cap”
Automatic exemption from new energy fees and taxes for seniors
An independent cost-benefit analysis of CLCPA
An audit of NYSERDA clean energy programs
A State incentive to build out the natural gas system in areas dependent upon less clean or affordable fuels or who live in areas with high rates of respiratory illness.
“AE is going to take both a proactive and a reactive approach for the first time this year,” concluded Ortega. “It is time our opponents were made to defend their high-cost solutions and explain why working people should continue to pay more and get less, while the wealthy benefit from their out of touch policies. All I can say to them is ‘stay tuned’.”

Gas Battle Begins

January 12, 2024


January 10, 2024

Responding to Gov. Hochul’s 2024 State of the State Address

We are pleased to see the Governor zero in on affordability as a major theme of her 2024 State of the State address. As an organization, we have long believed that making sure working families can live and thrive in our communities. should be the most important factor driving our state’s policy makers. We applaud Governor Hochul for not endorsing the entirety of the NY Heat Act, and for wisely choosing to buck extremists and leave out any mention of their 6% wealth redistribution scheme. We do, however, take issue with her endorsement of ending the “100-foot rule” for gas infrastructure because it threatens good paying union jobs at a time when our state can ill afford such losses. In many areas, natural gas is the most affordable option for an average family. This proposal would move this choice out of reach for all but the most affluent families. New York continues to lead the nation in population loss. It is essential that we change course now before it is too late. Ongoing costs being driven by New York’s well-intentioned but poorly executed climate goals are a major factor behind increasing utility bills. These increases hurt consumers and businesses alike. Further, these same bills are making New York uncompetitive and driving more and more of our citizens to seek opportunity elsewhere. This year, instead of letting ideology lead the way, let us all work together on an affordable and environmentally responsible energy agenda grounded in reality and common sense.” 

Winter blackouts more likely as NYC climate goals force shift to electrical heat

December 22, 2023

As Heat Rises and Electric Bills Soar, Gov. Hochul Must Protect NYers By Passing NY HEAT Act

September 6, 2023

First Annual CLCPA Report Indicates High Costs, Low Benefits

August 25, 2023

New York adopts statewide gas ban in new construction

May 4, 2023

New York to ban fossil fuels in new buildings. 23 states have forbidden such bans.

May 3, 2023

New York on cusp of being first state in nation to ban natural gas under newbudget — and residents are furious

May 2, 2023

The First Natural Gas Ban in the U.S. Just Got Shot Down

April 19, 2023