O&R Invests $144M in Summer Reliability and the Clean Energy Future
Urges Customers to Use Electricity Wisely to Save Energy, Money
To prepare for summer’s peak electricity demands, O&R has invested over $144 million this year to fortify and improve the reliability of its electric system and further support the development of new energy efficiency and clean energy projects.
That investment builds on the nearly $1 billion O&R has invested over the past 10 years on electric system maintenance and reliability projects.
O&R President and CEO Robert Sanchez said, “We work every day of the year to prepare O&R’s electric system to meet the high demand for electricity hot summer weather brings.” He added, “As part of that mission, O&R is helping the communities we serve meet their clean energy goals by leading the transition to a low carbon future.”
The New York State Public Service Commission (NYSPSC) predicted earlier this month that electric bills across the state are expected to increase approximately 12% this summer in comparison to last summer but may vary depending on the customer’s location in the state. That increase is due to an increase in supply costs.
The typical O&R residential customer using an average of 600 kWh of electricity per month last summer saw, on average, a monthly electric bill, which consists of both electric supply and delivery costs, of $135.90. That monthly bill in the summer of 2022 is expected to be, on average, $153.23.
O&R provides its customers their electricity at the same rate the company secures from the wholesale market. O&R does not make a profit on supply costs.
Managing Your Bill
We know how frustrating it is to receive higher-than-expected bills.
O&R is committed to communicating clearly to you about your energy bill and providing resources and tips to help manage your energy costs. Here are some energy-saving efficiency tips for lowering your bills.
To help its customers use electricity this summer as wisely as possible, O&R is offering 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 is a digital marketplace that offers O&R’s residential customers a wide variety of home services and energy-saving household products including LED lights, smart thermostats, advanced power strips, connected home and water/energy saving devices. The My ORU Store makes saving energy and money simple, safe and easy with fast and free shipping on many orders.
For example, eligible New York customers can receive instant rebates when they purchase energy-saving products on the My ORU Store. Those who purchase a qualified smart thermostat to control their central air conditioner can also automatically enroll in the new Smart Savers program to receive an additional instant rebate at the time of purchase. This one-stop shopping experience provides customers choice, convenience and innovative solutions to better manage their energy use. And coming this fall, the My ORU Store offerings will be expanded to include our NY business customers.
To learn more about O&R energy efficiency programs, visit us at www.oru.com/save.
Electric Reliability Investments
New energy reliability investments include several projects to provide additional storm protection for the electric system. These storm-hardening projects reinforce the electric system to improve electric service resiliency and minimize storm-related service interruptions by upgrading four miles of existing overhead wire with higher capacity, tree-resistant cable and replacing approximately 1,000 utility poles with new, sturdier poles. Click here to see how tree-resistant cable can reduce overhead electric outages.
Port Jervis Substation
One of O&R’s largest electric service reliability investments for this summer was in Port Jervis where the company commissioned into service a new, modern $38.2-million electric substation designed to improve electric service reliability in the city and surrounding area.
The new capacity this substation adds to the O&R system permits the company to better integrate clean renewable energy, from solar generation for example, and advanced technologies into the power grid benefitting O&R’s customers and the environment.
The new Port Jervis substation will result in approximately $1.9 million in increased tax revenues to be shared among the city and its schools and Orange County each year. It also has the potential to stimulate the local economy by attracting more business, creating new jobs and generating additional tax revenue for the city and the surrounding area.
Overhead Electric Reliability Projects
Here are six examples of reliability and resilience projects to upgrade service and install heavier-duty overhead cable:
- Suffern. A $700,000 electric service upgrade, upgrading 3,800 feet of existing overhead wire with higher capacity, tree-resistant cable on Spook Rock Road.
- New City. A $400,000 electric service upgrade, replacing 2,600 feet of existing overhead wire with tree-resistant cable on North Main Street.
- New City. A $400,000 electric service upgrade, upgrading 1,800 feet of existing overhead wire with higher capacity, tree-resistant cable Addison Boyce Road.
- New Square. A $400,000 electric service upgrade, upgrading 1,300 feet of existing overhead wire with higher capacity, heavier-duty cable on Roosevelt Avenue.
- Stony Point. A $200,000 electric service upgrade, upgrading voltage and replacing 2,000 feet of existing overhead wire with higher capacity, heavier-duty cable on Wayne Avenue.
- Tuxedo Park. A $1.7 million electric service upgrade, upgrading 10,000 feet of existing overhead wire with higher capacity, tree-resistant cable along East Lake Road and Crow’s Nest Road.
Underground Electric Reliability Projects
Here are three examples of underground projects O&R has completed over the past year to harden the electric system at strategic locations and promote electric service reliability and resilience during high-demand summer months and beyond:
- West Nyack. A $600,000 electric service upgrade, installing 2,000 feet of underground cable replacing existing overhead along Route 59.
- Monroe. A $1.3 million electric service upgrade, installing 10,000 feet of underground cable for a new circuit to feed Monroe area.
- Middletown. A $150,000 electric service upgrade, installing 1,000 feet of underground cable for a new circuit to feed Town of Wallkill area.
O&R continues to improve reliability by automating its electric system through smart grid technological improvements. The smart grid integrates state-of-the-art equipment and technology with advances in computer analysis, communications, monitoring and control to significantly enhance system reliability, efficiency and overall quality of service.
More than 200 new remote-operated devices are being installed this summer to compliment the 1200 existing switching devices that allow for the isolation of problems when they develop and minimize the number of customers affected by individual outages.
Several operational steps --- like tree-trimming projects, infrared inspections of transmission lines, aerial and foot patrols and distribution equipment inspections and testing --- also play key roles in helping O&R deliver safe and reliable electric service this summer.
CLEAN ENERGY PROJECTS
In addition to storm hardening projects, O&R is developing electric service reliability projects that also achieve clean energy goals. O&R replaced most of its mechanical electric and natural gas meters with modern digital meters in every home and business in the company’s New York electric and gas service area.
Smart meters provide customers greater control over their energy consumption by allowing them to see when their consumption fluctuates in near real-time so they can take steps to
further manage their usage. Customers can even set up high bill alerts to get a notice when their usage for the month is getting high. Smart meters also facilitate quicker restoration of service after a storm event by communicating the location of service damage.
Pomona Battery Storage Project
This electric battery storage project permits O&R to delay building costly new infrastructure and is designed to accommodate energy use during summer peak demand periods.
Pomona’s new battery storage project is connected to O&R’s electric distribution system. The battery storage system draws power from the distribution system to charge its batteries, usually at night when the price of electricity is lowest. That energy is stored until it is needed.
Last summer, O&R dispatched electricity from the battery into the community 21 times to provide for local load support during summer peak electric demand periods. The battery sends out 3MW of power per hour for four hours, totaling 12MWh. That totals 252MWh of electricity dispatched from the battery over the summer 2021 period.
As wholesale and retail energy markets develop and mature, these batteries will be able to sell power into those markets to earn additional revenue, further reducing the cost to the customers of the overall battery deployment.
Learn more about the Pomona battery storage project here.
EV Charger Development
To make it easier to drive an electric vehicle (EV), O&R is offering significant incentives to energize hundreds of new public and customer-owned electric vehicle charging stations throughout its New York service area.
O&R’s PowerReady Program (PRP) is providing incentives that can cover up to 100% of the EV charging stations’ installation costs (depending on eligibility criteria) for Level 2 or direct current fast charging stations at commercial facilities, multifamily buildings, or parking areas. The goal is to develop the infrastructure to make it easier for EV drivers to find places to charge their vehicles.
Chargers, which meet minimum program requirements, are eligible to recover up to 50% of the cost. Chargers, which are publicly accessible and have non-proprietary plugs, may receive up to 90% of the cost, and if located in a low- or moderate-income community are eligible for up to 100% of the cost.
For more information visit oru.com/PowerReady
Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc. (O&R), a wholly owned subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, Inc., one of the nation’s largest investor-owned energy companies, is a regulated utility. O&R provides electric service to approximately 300,000 customers in southeastern New York State (where its franchise name is Orange & Rockland) and northern New Jersey (where it’s Rockland Electric Company) and natural gas service to approximately 130,000 customers in New York.