With the bitter cold, NYSEG has flagged some of the region’s largest employers to heat with oil instead of natural gas, driving up their heating costs.

“We have been burning oil since Tuesday evening,” SUNY Oneonta’ Chief Facilities Planning & Safety Officer Lachlan Squair said. “I’m fairly certain other places are doing the same.”

That would mean Fox Hospital, Hartwick College and Lutz Feed in Oneonta, and Chenango Memorial Hospital in Norwich, who all have “interruptible power” contracts that require the shift during cold snaps.

Every year on the coldest days, NYSEG shuts off natural gas to the big institutions. In 2016, it was estimated the contracts had cost SUNY Oneonta a $1/2 million extra over the three previous winters.

“Companies are asked to shut down their gas supply so that residents will have enough gas to heat their homes,” Otsego Now CEO Jody Zakrevsky explained in a recent interview. “It is so everyone will have enough heat during the coldest times.”

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