The New York State Public Service Commission approved Con Edison’s tariff increase to raise the capital needed for its smart grid investment plan.Audrey Zibelman, chairman at PSC, said the approved smart grid investment plan "... furthers our efforts to move utilities toward a cleaner, more distributed, customer-centric model for utility service, along with less costly and cleaner alternatives to traditional utility infrastructure investments.
“In addition, for both electric and gas, improvements are made to ensure the most vulnerable customers are protected and that the delivery systems are resilient and reliable.”
Energy tariffs increase
The approval of Con Edison’s smart grid investment plan will allow the utility to increase its tariffs by 2.3% in 2017, by 2.4% in 2018 and by 2.4% in 2019 for its consumers residing in New York consuming above 300KW/h per month.
For Con Edison’s customers using 450KW/h per month in Westchester County, the utility will increase the cost of its electricity by 2.5%, 2.6% and by 2.6% within the next three years.
The utility’s gas customers using above 100 therms per month will witness increases in their bills by 1.6%, 5% and by 3.2% between 2017 and 2019.
Smart grid investment and upgrade
With the increased energy tariffs, Con Edison will raise funds to increase its total capacity generated from renewable energy resources including solar.
Implementation of the plan will allow Con Edison to ensure the reliability of its grid network and lining up with recommendations set under the New York state’s Reforming the Energy Vision programme (REV).
Under the REV programme, energy companies operating in New York state are encouraged to meet peak demand by employing demand-side measures including energy efficiency and demand response.
The REV programme aims to ensure that New York state reduces its gas emissions by 40% by 2030 by increasing utilities' adoption of renewable energy resources to 50% by 2030.
“Maintaining the status quo with an inefficient “peak-power” system year-round when it is only needed for a few days of peak power demand makes no sense,” added Chair Zibelman.
“We can create a cleaner and more affordable system through REV’s reliance on energy-efficiency and other cost cutting initiatives.”
Con Edison will integrate its gas distribution system with the latest technologies and equipment to help reduce the occurrence and duration of leakages.
The capital to be raised from the utility's increased energy tariffs will fund Con Edison's smart meter installation project set to begin in July 2017. Con Edison is expecting to achieve up to $1 billion in net benefits from equipping its customers with the new two-way communication technology.
Apart from securing an approval of its smart grid investment plan, the energy provider has also been allowed to extend its Brooklyn-Queens Demand Management programme through to 2019. [Con Edison expands energy efficiency initiatives].
In the demand management programme, the utility invests in less costly distributed energy resources to help its residential and small business customers in Brooklyn and Queens to reduce energy usage during peak demand periods.
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