New York smart grid projects approved subject to stimulus funding award


Garry Brown,
Chairman, New
York State PSC
Albany, NY, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — July 28, 2009 – The New York State Public Service Commission has approved a wide range of smart grid initiatives of six major New York electric utilities, contingent on the awarding of a 50 percent matching federal grant by the national Department of Energy (DOE).

The projects approved by the Commission have a total cost of about $825 million and ratepayer matching funding of approximately $390 million.

Since the federal stimulus funds available from the DOE will only cover up to 50 percent of the total costs of the proposed smart grid projects, the requests filed with the Commission are to recover the portion of the costs not covered by the DOE grant.

“These projects represent an opportunity to move New York’s electricity system into the 21st century,” said Commission chairman Garry Brown. “With federal cost sharing being offered, now is the perfect time to move forward because it will minimize the financial impact on ratepayers. In addition, we anticipate a greater likelihood of success in winning the federal grant if the utility has already secured non-federal funding sources for projects.”

The utilities and amounts of funding for which projects were approved are Consolidated Edison of New York, Inc. (Con Edison) for $175 million, National Grid $145 million, Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation (RG&E) $36 million, New York State Electric and Gas Corporation (NYSEG) $20 million, Central Hudson Gas and Electric Corporation (Central Hudson) $10 million, and Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc. (O&R) $5 million.

Con Edison and O&R have proposed four AMI pilot projects including approximately 58,000 electric and gas meters, three of which are in Con Edison’s Westchester, Manhattan, and Long Island City operating areas, and the fourth in O&R’s Eastern operating division. In addition a number of grid enhancement projects are proposed.

National Grid proposes to deploy smart grid technology at two locations in New York, one in the Syracuse area and one in the Capital District area, located north of Albany. The Syracuse Smart Program area will include approximately 40,000 customers, while the Capital District Smart Program area will include approximately 42,000 customers.

RG&E proposes among other projects, to integrate a reactive metering project with the mandatory hourly pricing initiative, with the MHP project consisting of 250 new meters in 2010 and 250 more estimated in 2011.

NYSEG plans among other initiatives to continue its mandatory hourly pricing project, with 500 more MHP customers scheduled for installation in 2009.

Central Hudson’s smart grid initiative encompasses many smart grid/AMI elements and technology applications. It creates ten “intelligent” circuits from source to end user combining AMI technologies, distribution equipment upgrades and automation, and data system modernization to enhance operational efficiency in the distribution grid, and, when coupled with dynamic rate offerings, allow greater energy consumption control by consumers.

In approving the proposed projects for ratepayer matching funding, the Commission determined that they provide a reasonable investment in technology that improves the efficient and intelligent operation of the electric grid in New York State, the body said in a statement. The Commission concluded that there are substantial benefits to be gained by beginning to invest in the use of advanced technology and communication to improve grid operations.

The Commission also approved several non-smart grid projects for Con Edison, including an electric vehicle demonstration for the U.S. Post Office.

Approval of all the smart grid projects by the Commission is conditioned upon the utilities filing with the Commission their applications, and any amendments, submitted to DOE for any competitive grant opportunity.

The utilities are also required to submit quarterly reports on the projects.