N.Y. Approves Con Ed Brooklyn-Queens Power Use Reduction Plan

Consolidated Edison Inc. can move ahead with a plan to give users in New York City’s two fastest growing boroughs incentives to boost energy savings and reduce reliance on the grid, the state Public Service Commission said.

The commission in a webcast meeting today approved the utility’s demand-management program for Brooklyn and Queens, where power consumption has jumped as gentrification spurred growth. The plan includes investments by consumers in more efficient lighting, batteries, rooftop solar panels and other strategies to cut demand.

Con Ed said in June that the plan would delay the need to build a $1 billion substation for the two boroughs until at least 2024.

“We are not going to change the landscape in one fell swoop,” Commissioner Gregg C. Sayre said. “That requires us to take small steps.”

Also at the meeting, commissioners discussed a broader energy vision for the state that includes proposals to give power companies more incentives to build new, cleaner generation and consumers incentives to cut use.

The Brooklyn/Queens plan for reducing demand will include energy efficiency, such as replacing refrigerators and painting roofs white, battery storage, distributed generation and microgrids, the company has said.

Con Ed envisions customer demand reductions totaling 41 megawatts. The company expects plan costs to be about $200 million, including expenses associated with the customer cuts and another 11 megawatts of reductions by the utility. Customer savings from the plan will be $400 million to $600 million, Robert Schimmenti, vice president of engineering and planning at the utility, said in a June 27 interview.

At today’s meeting, regulators said there was no reason to delay moving forward with the plan.

“I believe this project is one the state should feel very proud of,” said Audrey Zibelman, chair of the commission.

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