East Hills announces gas line deal

Bill San Antonio

East Hills officials announced a partnership with National Grid on Thursday to extend village gas lines at no cost to any resident that chooses to convert to gas service from oil.

The project is set to save residents thousands in heating bills and would have a similar environmental impact of taking 15,000 cars off the road for a year, officials said.

“Gas has been said to have certain advantages,” East Hills Mayor Michael Koblenz said. “It has a history of being clean, less expensive, [a] preferred fuel for certain appliances and can even allow generators to run uninterrupted, without being refueled by tanks.”

Approximately 1,000 homeowners would be affected by the project, Koblenz said.

Previously, homeowners converting to gas who lived more than 100 feet from a gas main were charged extra for the extension of a gas line, officials said.

“National Grid and the Village of East Hills, together with the help of concerned residents, have paved the way for thousands to receive gas service,” said state Sen. Jack Martins (R-Mineola). “They’ve created a model of how government and the private sector can work together for the betterment of the residents they both serve.”

Ken Daly, the president of National Grid of New York, said the utility would install more than 60,000 feet of new gas mains for access throughout the village.

Koblenz thanked East Hills resident Jana Goldenberg, the former president of the Country Estates neighborhood’s civic association, for her involvement “from the outset, and for being so instrumental in the project.”

Goldenberg, who was not present at Thursday’s news conference, told Blank Slate Media she spearheaded the gas line project, which was first offered to residents of Country Estates and eventually the rest of the village.

“It is me and my perseverance that got this project done,” she said, having amassed nearly 500 written commitments from East Hills residents for gas service and documented email correspondence with National Grid and East Hills officials dating back to October 2013.

In an email to Country Estates residents Thursday night, Goldenberg wrote she had only been informed of the news conference that morning but was notified the project was approved Monday and “to keep this under wraps” until National Grid’s marketing department had the authority to announce it.

“It saddens me that National Grid or the Village of East Hills would not invite me since this project would never have happened without all my hard work & [sic] dedication to get gas to all residents of East Hills,” she wrote.

Koblenz said Tuesday that the village was not responsible for calling the press conference, and that East Hills made sure to credit Goldenberg for her participation on the project. 

“It was very impromptu, very quick. National Grid and Jack Martins came to us and said, can we make this announcement tomorrow,” Koblenz said. “Two of my trustees were working. I was happy I was able to get there on time because of my own work schedule.”

National Grid spokeswoman Wendy Ladd said a media advisory — which was not sent to the Roslyn Times — was issued to outlets and officials at the village’s request.

“They invited us to their press conference, so they could have invited anyone they wanted to,” Ladd said. “We were there on their behalf.”

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