New $26M Electric Substation, Energy Efficiency Help O&R Beat the Heat
Orange & Rockland (O&R) has prepared to meet high summer demand for electricity with continued investments in projects that improve electric service reliability and the further development of energy efficiency programs that help customers use less energy, save money and reduce their carbon footprint.
To prepare for this summer’s peak demands for electricity, O&R has made investments totaling over $140 million this year to fortify and improve the reliability of its electric system. That investment builds on the nearly $1 billion O&R has invested over the past 10 years on electric system maintenance and reliability projects.
In Orange County, the newest addition to O&R’s electric service reliability line up is the recently completed $26-million Deerpark electric substation, which will begin providing power to the community in the coming days.
The new substation will directly benefit 6,500 customers. It is needed to meet the increased electrical requirements of the Town of Deerpark and will provide additional increased service reliability to Port Jervis. Indirect benefits from the substation’s operation will be realized by the communities of Huguenot, Cuddebackville, Glen Spey, Sparrowbush and Forestburgh.
Based on present rates and current conditions, O&R estimates that the Deerpark electric substation will produce new annual local tax revenue totaling approximately $900,000.
This summer, several operational steps --- from pro-active system maintenance and construction to close monitoring and rapid response to heat-related electric system concerns on high-heat days --- play a critical role in O&R’s delivering safe and reliable electric service.
These steps include line clearance work in the form of specific tree-trimming projects, infrared inspections and transmission line patrols and distribution equipment testing and inspections.
O&R also is pursuing a strategy the company adopted post-Superstorm Sandy to provide additional storm protection at specific key electric system locations. These storm-resilience electric system improvements include building additional electric circuits and undergrounding selective system-critical locations where multiple overhead circuits are present on distribution poles. Taller, stronger poles also are being installed at key locations. Those processes are now part of O&R’s operational construction procedures.
And, those process improvements are having a positive impact on customers.
In the most recent example of that success, during the destructive March nor’easters Riley and Quinn alone, O&R engineers estimate that over 18,000 O&R customers avoided, or experienced significantly briefer power outages, as a result of the storm-resilience improvements.
This summer, electric bills are expected to be slightly higher than last summer. The typical O&R residential customer in Orange County using an average of 600 kWh of electricity per month is expected to see that monthly bill increase almost 1 percent (0.9 percent) this summer as compared to summer 2017. A summer 2017 monthly bill, which consists of both electric supply and delivery costs, for a typical Orange County residential customer was $133.86. That monthly bill in the summer of 2018 is expected to increase on average of $1.19 to $135.05.
Energy Efficiency and Conservation
To help its customers use electricity this summer as wisely as possible, O&R is promoting a number of energy efficiency programs for residential, small business and commercial and industrial customers.
Among those programs is O&R’s online store. The My ORU Store www.myorustore.com is a digital marketplace that offers O&R’s residential customers a wide variety of energy-saving household products including LED lights, water/energy saving devices, advanced power strips, smart thermostats and connected home products. Home services are available from local customer-recommended contractors offering a/c and furnace tune ups and thermostat installations. The My ORU Store makes saving energy and money, both easy and affordable.
Eligible New York customers can receive instant rebates when they purchase energy-saving products and services on the My ORU Store and can receive additional rebates when they enroll their smart thermostat in O&R’s innovative Bring Your Own Thermostat program.
This summer, O&R has developed four more new residential energy efficiency programs that include integrating more energy efficient products and instant purchase rebates into the My ORU Store.
O&R developed these programs to more closely align its energy-efficiency efforts with the New York State Public Service Commission’s (PSC) initiatives to modernize the state’s energy utility industry. Among those initiatives are programs to motivate and empower customers to better understand and take control of their energy use.
Since 2009, 26,000 customers using these programs have saved 149,000 MWh of electricity, 119,000 Dth of natural gas, reduced peak electric demand by over 32 MW and have reduced carbon emissions by 103,000 tons.
That 149,000 MWh is enough energy to power over 18,000 homes, and is equivalent to taking 22,000 cars off the road. The 32 MWs of peak electric demand is enough to meet the peak demand needs of five Palisades Malls.
To learn more about O&R energy efficiency programs, visit us at www.oru.com/save.