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O&R Invests $180 Million This Year to Improve Reliability, Resiliency and Advance the Region’s Clean Energy Transition

Orange and Rockland Utilities (O&R) is investing $180 million this year to improve the reliability and resilience of its electric system.

This work includes the development of energy efficiency and clean energy projects as the company prepares for this summer’s peak electricity demands and weather events.

To provide its customers with safe, reliable and increasingly clean energy from renewable generation sources, the company has invested nearly $1 billion on electric system maintenance and reliability projects over the last 10 years.

O&R provides energy to nearly one million people, with fewer electricity interruptions and a response rate two times faster than other utilities nationwide.

Ushering In A Clean Energy Future

O&R’s customers have reduced their environmental footprint over recent years. The typical O&R residential customer currently uses 550 kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy per month, down from 600. That’s enough energy to run a typical 50-inch LED television for 1,000 hours.

“O&R customers are leading the transition to the clean energy future,” said Michele O’Connell president and CEO of O&R. “Reducing energy consumption is the best, most environmentally sound way to achieve our energy goals. We are committed to working with our customers, regulators, policymakers, and other stakeholders in reimagining energy for our customers today and in the future.”

The company has committed up to $200,000 over the next three years to help local organizations combat the effects of extreme heat and other climate-related weather events in disadvantaged and historically marginalized communities across the O&R service area.

Investing in Electric Resiliency

The Blooming Grove Substation, representing a $42 million investment, is scheduled to be in service by July. It quadruples the capacity of the existing substation, improving the reliability and resiliency for North Blooming Grove and Washingtonville customers.

O&R continues its storm hardening initiative to make its energy systems more resilient. Crews are building additional electric circuits, automating select circuits, undergrounding strategic locations, enhancing overhead systems, and expanding tree-trimming clearances at critical service locations.

In addition, this year it has increased its Hazard Tree Removal program by more than 35 percent to 1,800 trees.

Improving Overhead Electric Reliability

The company’s largest reliability and resilience projects to upgrade electric system and/or install heavier-duty overhead cable that is higher capacity and tree-resistant include:

  • Pumpkin Hill Road - A $645,000 electric system upgrade replacing 2,000 feet of overhead wire on Pumpkin Hill Road in Warwick.
  • Round Hill Road - A $600,000 project to install 2,900 feet of higher capacity conductor to create a distribution circuit tie on Round Hill Road to Clove Road in the Blooming Grove/Washingtonville area.
  • Black Meadow Road - A $1.8 million electric system upgrade creating a new 16,000-foot tie to support new load on Pine Hill Road to Route 94.
  • Pine Island Conversion - A $200,000 electric system upgrade to support increased demand and improve reliability in Pine Island.
  • Foster Road - A $700,000 electric system upgrade replacing 8,800 feet of existing overhead wire to improve reliability on Inwood Road and Foster Road.

Click here to see how tree-resistant cable can reduce overhead electric outages.

Improving Underground Electric Reliability

Here are 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:

  • Haverstraw - A $4 million project to replace 9,000 feet of overhead cable with underground cable along Thiells Mount Ivy Road.
  • Spring Valley - A $3.3 million project to replace 4,000 feet of overhead cable with an underground cable system along Pascack Road.
  • Mamakating - A $3.2 million project to replace 4,500 feet of overhead off-road construction and the installation of a new 6,300-foot underground cable system from the Wurtsboro substation to the Mamakating town complex.

Expanding Smart Grid Technology

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 1,700 existing switching devices that minimize the number of customers affected by outages.

Forecasting Summer Bills

O&R forecasts an average monthly summer electric bill for a typical residential customer for 2024 to be $145.77, a 10.5 percent increase over last summer. That increase includes the cost of 550 kWh of electricity and its delivery.

Delivery costs include the labor and materials required for upgrading and maintaining electrical infrastructure from overhead and underground cables to substations, and preparing the grid for the transition to a clean energy future. Delivery rates are set by state regulatory agencies.

O&R does not set supply costs and doesn’t make a profit on the energy it buys in the wholesale supply market. The customer pays what the company pays.

Managing Summer Bills

In addition to helping customers improve their energy efficiency, O&R is committed to communicating clearly to customers about their bills and providing resources and tips to help manage their energy costs. Here are some energy-saving efficiency tips.

Customers also can follow this link for information about saving money through rebates and incentives: Rebates, Incentives, and Tax Credits.

And, for customers who need bill payment assistance Payment Plans and Assistance brings them to 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).

Keeping Energy Affordable

O&R offers over $15 million annually in assistance to income-eligible customers who find themselves facing financial hardship and meet the eligibility criteria for the company’s Energy Affordability Program. If a customer faces a financial emergency, Emergency HEAP is open until August 30, 2024, or until funds are exhausted. Customers can receive a first or second HEAP benefit.

O&R supports the expansion of Energy Affordability Programs for low- and moderate-income customers.

Charging Electric Vehicles

O&R helps 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.

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 SmartCharge NY Program provides participants with rewards for off-peak charging.

Improving Energy Efficiency

O&R offers significant energy efficiency programs and savings for its customers.

Residential customers in New York can take advantage of the My ORU Store for a wide variety of home services and energy-saving 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 Smart Savers program to receive an additional instant rebate at the time of purchase.

The My ORU store has partnerships with third party vendors to assist customers in finding a certified contractor to perform energy-efficient upgrades. These include geothermal and solar projects, as well as weatherization and insulation services, which are an excellent step to maximize cooling this summer by eliminating air leaks and energy waste.

Customers can take the first steps to electrifying their building and help usher in a low-carbon future, by replacing fossil fuel heating systems and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by visiting:

Cost-effective, highly efficient electric heat pumps provide both heating and cooling, reducing your energy consumption in all seasons. The Clean Heat program is designed to provide rebates to customers for making the switch to a cold-climate heat pump, heat pump water heater, or other heat pump solutions designed and used for space and water heating. Customers can receive those rebates as an instant discount, or by rebate check, to help reduce cost.

Eligible New York commercial and industrial customers can receive instant rebates when they purchase qualifying ENERGY STAR® and DesignLights Consortium LEDs from a participating distributor. Products are discounted instantly, with no additional rebate forms or applications to fill out through our Instant Lighting Incentive Program. If there are fixtures that are not covered by the Instant Lighting Incentive Program, they may be covered by our Custom LED Lighting Program. Both retrofits and new construction facilities are eligible: Instant Lighting Incentive Program.

For additional information about O&R visit:

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 140,000 customers in New York.