ALBANY, NY – New energy efficiency programs in a Joint Settlement Proposal filed today on Consolidated Edison Company of New York’s electric rates for 2017 to 2019 will help meet the state’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals and Clean Energy Standard renewables targets, according to environmental and energy efficiency groups participating in the proposed agreement with the utility, city, and state.
The Joint Settlement Proposal would commit the utility to $99 million in new energy efficiency programs over the next three years, providing customer energy bill savings while reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other dangerous pollutants emitted by power plants.
The Department of Public Service staff filed the proposed settlement today with the New York Public Service Commission for review and potential approval. The Natural Resources Defense Council, the Pace Energy and Climate Center, Acadia Center and the Association for Energy Affordability said the proposed efficiency programs are anticipated to yield more than 300 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of savings annually by 2019, and would continue to save customers that much each year for many years beyond that. A System Peak Reduction Program would add an additional 22 GWh of efficiency per year by the same date, while providing 49 megawatts of system peak reduction, which means fewer of Con Edison’s dirtiest, most expensive peaking power plants will be needed to serve Con Edison’s 3.3 million customers on the highest demand days of the year.
“By 2019, Con Edison’s new energy efficiency programs are expected to annually save the same amount of electricity that’s used by more than 70,000 typical New York City residential customers,” said Miles Farmer of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “That’s significant. The Public Service Commission should approve these programs and build upon that progress with more aggressive energy efficiency targets and initiatives in the near future.”
The Public Service Commission is expected this week to consider the procedural schedule for reviewing the Joint Settlement Proposal. Signatories include Department of Public Service staff, Con Edison, the Pace Energy and Climate Center, the City of New York, and various other environmental and consumer groups.
“By assisting customers to use energy more effectively, ConEd’s proposed programs would bring New York one step closer to achieving its requirement to use 50% renewables by 2030,” said Acadia Center President Dan Sosland. “Energy efficiency is far less expensive than building and operating fossil fuel power plants, and less risky, which means New Yorkers will benefit from this transition to a clean energy future.”
A study released by Synapse Energy Economics Inc. in April concluded that implementing aggressive energy efficiency targets and funding them appropriately holds the potential to reduce total costs to New York State’s electricity customers by roughly $3 billion.
Much more work remains to be done to pull New York up to speed with its neighbors in the Northeast. While the proposed Energy Efficiency and System Peak Reduction Programs are projected to help Con Edison more than double its energy efficiency performance over the level previously committed to (about 0.3% of load in efficiency gains per year), its total achievement will still be far short of the 2% to 3% in efficiency gains being made by utilities in states like Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Radina Valova, a Pace Energy and Climate Center Staff Attorney, noted, “The programs will secure energy efficiency in a way that makes the grid itself more cost-effective by responding to locational needs, bundling offerings through Distributed Energy Resource providers, and leveraging market-based approaches. Clean energy advocacy groups like ours support this broad focus on energy efficiency opportunities because it allows the utility to promote the most cost-effective and market-friendly savings opportunities.”
“This settlement proposal ensures Con Edison’s ability and commitment to leverage bigger and better ideas and technologies in pursuit of a broad range of advanced energy efficiency opportunities, working with third parties and interested consumers. This approach is an important step for Con Edison and a strong precedent for other utilities to help New York to meet its clean energy goals,” said David Hepinstall of the Association for Energy Affordability, Inc.
Released jointly by Acadia Center, Association for Energy Affordability, Inc., National Resources Defense Council, and Pace Energy and Climate Center