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Landmark Energy Efficiency Program in NY Reauthorized

The New York State Public Service Commission (Commission), in a major step to ensure New York continues to provide energy efficiency funding incentives to residential, commercial and industrial customers, today voted to reauthorize the state’s Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (EEPS) initiative. The EEPS program is designed to reduce consumption of electricity and natural gas, while spurring creation of the infrastructure to support the creation of energy efficiency-related jobs.

“The state’s energy efficiency program remains as critically important for the State’s energy future as it was when it was created three years go,” said Commission Chairman Garry Brown. “Energy efficiency is the most cost-effective, and most immediate, way to reduce the burden of rising energy costs on residential and business customers. The steps we have taken helped ensure that energy efficiency remains an integral part of New York’s clean energy economy.”

The Commission’s EEPS initiative is a far-reaching, ground-breaking energy efficiency program that has reversed the pattern of ever-increasing energy use in New York. The Commission’s long-term goal is to reduce electric usage by 15 percent of projected levels by 2015, with similar reductions in natural gas usage, making EEPS one of the most aggressive efficiency initiatives in the nation.

With the Commission’s decision today, 100 electric and gas programs providing benefits to residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural customers are reauthorized for the four-year period beginning January 1, 2012 and ending December 31, 2015.

The total annual targets for electric programs equal 1.3 million MWh for 2012, enough to meet the electricity needs of approximately 200,000 homes. The total 2012 electric program budget is $368 million. The EEPS electric programs are on a trajectory to achieve the Commission’s goal, established in 2008, of reducing electricity use by 11.2 million MWh by the end of 2015, enough to meet the electricity needs of approximately 1.73 million homes.

Meanwhile, the total 2012 targets for gas programs equal 3.4 million dekatherms, enough to meet the natural gas usage of approximately 411,000 homes each year. The total 2012 budget for gas programs is $154.4 million.

As part of its decision to approve funding for the EEPS programs, the Commission decided to increase funding for low-income natural gas programs administered by NYSERDA by $18.7 million, meaning that some $75 million annually will now be directed toward low-income electric and natural gas programs statewide.

As part of the change in the EEPS initiative, three energy efficiency programs administered by National Fuel Gas of Buffalo, including its conservation incentive program, will be incorporated into EEPS. In addition, National Fuel’s spending on outreach and education will be reduced from 15 percent to 9 percent of total program costs, making it comparable to other EEPS programs. The $600,000 difference will be allocated between the low-income program and the residential rebate program, with more funds going toward low-income families.

In addition to reauthorizing programs, the Commission said it will begin a process of considering whether the incentives utilities’ receive to participate in the EEPS initiative need to be revised.

The Commission’s decision today, when issued, may be obtained by going to the Commission Documents section of the Commission’s Web site at www.dps.state.ny.us and entering Case Number 07-M-0548 in the input box labeled “Search for Case/Matter Number”. Many libraries offer free Internet access. Commission orders may also be obtained from the Commission’s Files Office, 14th floor, Three Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY 12223 (518-474-2500).

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