Darnell Jospeh, Travis Fraser and their business partners had wanted to open their new Brooklyn sports bar, Four Purpose, for the football season.
But their plans suffered a costly setback, when the natural gas utility National Grid imposed a moratorium on new hookups for customers in Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island.
"We had to change up a number of things,” said Fraser. “First of all our appliance list … Also, it effected the initial menu we were thinking of. Some items had to be taken off. You have to improvise with certain items because some things don't work as well with electric as they do with gas."
Joseph and Fraser said they had to spend $41,000, double their initial budget, so their kitchen could run on electricity instead of gas.
The first-time restaurant owners were caught in the crossfire of an escalating battle between Governor Cuomo and National Grid.
The fight began when the Cuomo administration rejected, on environmental grounds, a proposed offshore pipeline to serve National Grid customers.
The utility responded in May with its moratorium, throwing the plans of thousands of homeowners and businesses like the Four Purpose in limbo.
"We are being sacrificed in a bigger game that we have no control over," said Jospeh.
After Cuomo demanded National Grid resume gas installations, or lose its state operating license, the utility on Monday backed down, lifting the moratorium on new gas connections and paying a $36 million penalty to help compensate those hurt by the standoff.
Cuomo called the deal a "victory for customers," adding, "National Grid will pay a significant penalty for its failure to address the supply issue, its abuse of its customers, and the adverse economic impact they have caused."
It appears that Four Purpose will be eligible for compensation under the deal; its owners say they just want to open.
"[We] don’t know when we get it, so it’s like, do we continue to push on with our original plan or do we hold back. But at the end of the day we are still trying to get open," said Fraser.
As part of the agreement, National Grid is supposed to present new options for meeting the energy needs of its customers. That may include developing conservation strategies and renewable energy sources.