PSC Approves Westchester County Clean Energy Plan

Real Estate In-Depth | July 2019

Public Service Commission Chair John B. Rhodes

ALBANY — The New York State Public Service Commission approved on July 11 the implementation of a consumer awareness campaign to encourage the installation of renewable energy and energy efficiency resources in Westchester County.

The program was developed in consultation with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and Westchester County to encourage the installation of renewable energy resources and energy efficiencies in Westchester County.

“Transitioning to a carbon-neutral economy requires all-hands-on deck, and New Yorkers are eager to do their part,” said Public Service Commission Chair John B. Rhodes. “NYSERDA’s Westchester County awareness program, developed in response to Con Edison’s natural gas moratorium for new customers, represents a smart and strategic approach to assist Westchester’s communities, businesses, and residents in accessing reliable clean-energy alternatives to natural gas and to become more energy efficient.”

The program will specifically encourage the installation of renewable energy and energy efficiency resources in Westchester County. The state and its partners are already taking action to respond to these interconnected issues through a $250-million Clean Energy Action Plan that was launched on March 14, 2019 to support energy consumers in the affected areas of Westchester.

As directed by the commission, NYSERDA’s awareness program will work in concert with the Westchester County Clean Energy Action Plan. The action plan was established to provide guidance and options to businesses and residents that are impacted by Con Edison’s gas moratorium on new firm service connection for natural gas. Through this action plan, the state is helping to lower energy costs for consumers; support ongoing economic development, increase community awareness and action on clean energy and advance the state’s clean energy and economic objectives.

The primary objective of the awareness program will be to deliver broad-based information that will educate Westchester residents and businesses about the clean, renewable and energy efficient options available in their area, state officials noted. This program aims to ensure that energy consumers in Westchester are supported with the necessary information, awareness and access to new technologies, energy efficiency, and renewable energy options that create more efficient homes and businesses. These more efficient spaces help provide a higher quality of life, as well as more energy efficient commercial space, both of which will make Westchester a more attractive place to live and work.

Increasing consumer awareness and understanding of these solutions is a core component for driving results and uptake at the earliest stages of a customer purchase cycle. Greater consumer awareness and understanding will also help to lower the cost of customer acquisition for the technology and service providers. Given the useful life of heating and cooling equipment, it is important to enable informed purchasing decisions in order to maximize potential value for consumers, the energy system and the environment.

The awareness program will complement the action plan with the shared objective of increasing consumer investment in clean energy alternatives such as electric heat pumps, high-efficiency appliances, equipment and building materials as well as energy efficiency. This investment will help to lower costs of efficient energy alternatives for consumers and reduce demand for natural gas while simultaneously pursuing the state’s energy and economic development goals, PSC officials stated.

The action plan includes:

• $165 million from Con Edison to support heat pumps and energy efficiency;

• $28 million from NYSERDA for new construction incentives and services for new customers, including low- to moderate-income residential development and waitlisted natural gas customers, to access alternative heating and cooling systems and energy efficiency services;

• $25 million from NYSERDA to implement energy efficiency measures for existing customers to reduce overall peak demand constraints;

Additional NYSERDA incentives for residential and commercial customers in the moratorium areas to install clean heating and cooling systems are:

• $32 million in financing services provided by the New York Power Authority (NYPA) for its Westchester customers to retrofit heating systems with clean energy alternatives;

• A consumer awareness campaign to be led by NYSERDA to help customers and communities access programs and incentives; and

• Sustainable and clean energy workshops to be sponsored by NYSERDA.

The funding for programs announced in the action plan has already received necessary commission approvals.

Reforming the Energy Vision

The CLCPA builds on Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s landmark Reforming the Energy Vision strategy to lead on climate change and grow New York’s economy. REV is building a cleaner, more resilient and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers by stimulating investment in clean technologies like solar, wind, and energy efficiency. Already, REV has driven growth of nearly 1,700%  in the statewide solar market leveraging nearly $3.4 billion in private investments, improved energy affordability for 1.65 million low-income customers, and has led to more than 150,000 jobs in manufacturing, engineering, and other clean tech sectors across New York State.