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Orange and Rockland Utilities Invests $180m in Summer Reliability and Clean Energy; Company Urges Customers to Use Energy Wisely to Save Energy and Money

To prepare for summer’s peak electricity demands, Orange and Rockland Utilities (O&R) has invested nearly $180 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 to prepare O&R’s electric system to be as reliable, resilient and safe as possible to meet the summer’s high demand for electricity.”

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.”

Clean Energy Projects

West Warwick Battery Storage Project

Orange and Rockland Utilities (O&R) and Convergent Energy and Power (Convergent), a leading provider of energy storage solutions in North America, recently completed a 12MW/57 MW hour battery storage system project in Warwick. The system is the first of its kind in Orange County.

The system, designed, constructed, and operated by Convergent, will deliver more cost-effective, reliable, and sustainable electricity to approximately 7,500 O&R customers in Orange County. See the battery at work.

Energy storage offers utilities a way to increase capacity on the electric grid by charging the batteries when electricity demand is low and discharging back into the grid when high demand could impact supply. This program stems from O&R’s concerted effort to reduce costs to customers and incorporate new technologies to maintain efficient, resilient, reliable and sustainable electric operations.

Pomona Battery Storage Project

Like West Warwick, 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 in the Rockland County community of Pomona.

Last summer, O&R dispatched electricity from the battery into the community 16 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 168MWh of electricity dispatched from the battery over the summer 2022 period.

Electric Reliability Investments

O&R created its storm hardening initiative to make its energy systems more storm resilient, by building additional electric circuits, automating select circuits, undergrounding strategic locations, enhancing overhead systems, and expanding tree-trimming clearances at critical service locations. See how tree-resistant cable can reduce overhead electric outages.

Overhead Electric Reliability Projects

Here are three examples of the 10 largest reliability and resilience projects to upgrade service and install heavier-duty overhead cable:

  • Glen Spey. A $1.5 million electric service upgrade, increasing voltage and replacing 13,000 feet of existing overhead wire with higher capacity, tree-resistant cable on Mohican Lake Road.
  • Spring Valley. An $800,000 electric service upgrade, replacing 3,200 feet of existing overhead wire with higher capacity, tree-resistant cable on Decatur Avenue and Church Street.
  • Chester. A $750,000 electric service upgrade, increasing voltage and replacing 6,400 feet of existing overhead wire with higher capacity, heavier-duty cable on Black Meadow Road and Pine Hill Road.

Underground Electric Reliability Projects

Here are two 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:

  • Congers. A $4 million storm-hardening project to replace 6,200 feet of overhead cable with underground cable along Congers Ave.
  • Monsey. A $3.5 million storm hardening and load relief project with two underground cable systems installed along E. Saddle River Road to Route 306.

Smart Grid

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 100 new remote-operated devices are being installed this summer in addition to the 1,500 existing switching devices that minimize the number of customers affected by outages.

Charging Electric Vehicles

Whether customers are starting fresh or are already managing a mixed-fuel fleet, O&R can help make the transition to electric vehicles easier and more affordable. The company is here to guide customers through the experience with its free Fleet Assessment Services to plan the electrification of their site, or their fleet with O&R’s Site & Fleet Electrification Calculator.

Under the company’s PowerReady incentive program, commercial facilities, multifamily buildings, or parking areas that install level 2 or direct-current fast chargers can offset some, or in certain cases, all of the upfront infrastructure costs of preparing a site. O&R will support the installation of around 3,000 charging plugs by 2025 in its New York service area.

Customers, who already have made the shift to EVs, can now be part of the community of drivers who are earning cash incentives for charging at off-peak times. O&R’s new SmartCharge NY Program provides participants with rewards for off-peak charging.

Energy Efficiency

To help its customers use electricity this summer as wisely as possible, O&R is offering 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.

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.

The My ORU Store has recently expanded to its NY business customers, offering commercial lighting and other energy saving devices that help businesses use less energy. O&R business customers could also lower their energy usage and costs by participating in the Business Direct Install program. O&R will cover up to 70 percent of the cost for energy improvements for small businesses. These upgrades pay for themselves. For more information call 1-800-572-9487.

Summer Bills

The typical O&R residential customer in Rockland County 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 $157.82. That monthly bill in the summer of 2023 is expected to be, on average, $149.25, a decrease of $8.57, or 5.4%. The key driver of that 5.4% decrease was the repeal of the Rockland County sales tax of 4% on December 1, 2022. Lower electric supply charges this summer account for the remainder of the decrease.

O&R customers in Orange and Sullivan counties were not subject to that sales tax last summer.

For those typical O&R residential customers in Orange and Sullivan counties that use an average of 600 kWh of electricity per month, the monthly electric bill was $151.76 last summer and is expected to be $149.25 this summer, a decrease of $2.51, or 1.7% due to lower electric supply charges this summer.

Managing Your Bill

O&R is committed to communicating clearly to customers about their energy bills and providing resources and tips to help manage their energy costs. Here are some energy-saving efficiency tips for lowering customer bills.

Customers also can follow this link for information about saving money through rebates and incentives.

Customers who need bill payment assistance can find that on the assistance/payment plans home page. There, customers who need help getting their accounts back on track can find O&R’s internal credit tools (budget billing, payment agreements and credit extensions).

About Orange & Rockland

Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc. (O&R) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, Inc., one of the nation’s largest investor-owned energy companies. O&R is a regulated utility that 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.