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Municipal Water and Wastewater Treatment Program Frequently Asked Questions

For general questions about NYSERDA, please visit NYSERDA FAQs

Municipal Water and Wastewater Programs

Q: What is the FOCUS on Municipal Water and Wastewater Program?
A: The FOCUS on Municipal Water and Wastewater Program was developed a division of the ARCADIS GRoup, under contract to NYSERDA to increase municipal awareness of the benefits of energy efficiency and the availability of NYSERDA funding and technical assistance programs.

Q: What types of assistance are provided through the FOCUS Program?
A: The FOCUS Program provides assistance to municipal water and wastewater facilities who are interested in learning more about the opportunities to improve energy efficiency at their facility. Outreach efforts include operator training and presentations, the development of various tools and materials, and on-site energy assessments for selected facilities. Additionally, an "Ask the Expert" email link has been established to provide direct assistance with questions related to energy efficiency improvements and/or NYSERDA programs.

Q: What other types of assistance does NYSERDA provide?
A: NYSERDA offers many funding and technical assistance programs to help municipal water and wastewater facilities to identify and implement energy efficiency improvement projects. Some programs provide cost-sharing assistance to help cover the costs associated with an energy assessment or the development and demonstration of an innovative or underutilized technology. Other programs provide cash incentives for purchasing and installing energy efficient or energy producing equipment and processes, or assist facilities to save money by reducing interest rates on loans used to pay for energy projects.

Q: How do I know if my facility is eligible for assistance?
A: To be eligible for many of NYSERDA’s programs, your facility must pay the SBC (Systems Benefit Charge). Systems Benefits charges apply to gas and electric services. Not all customers in New York State pay the SBC. Please consult a recent gas and electric bill to confirm if you pay the SBC charge; it will appear as SBC or SBC/RPS charge. Some gas SBC charges may not appear on your bill, please check with NYSERDA if you think you may pay SBC gas charges but it does not appear on your bill. Systems Benefit Charges on electric service are typically paid within the service areas of Central Hudson Gas & Electric CorporationLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page., New York State Electric & Gas Corporation, National GridLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page., Rochester Gas and Electric CorporationLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page., Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc., and Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc.Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page.

Q: What is the SBC?
A: The New York State Public Service Commission (PSC)Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. established the Systems Benefit Charge (or "SBC") in 1996. These charges are used to fund many NYSERDA and PSC programs to improve energy efficiency and the reliability of New York’s electric supply. To be eligible for many of NYSERDA’s programs, you need to pay into this program.

Q: How do I apply for assistance?
A: Applying for assistance is easy. It starts with an email to water@nyserda.ny.gov. Each NYSERDA program webpage also contains information on how to apply. Visit the Funding and Technical Assistance page for links to various NYSERDA programs.

Q: How can I receive more information about NYSERDA programs?
A: Email water@nyserda.ny.gov for more information about NYSERDA programs.

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Energy Use and the Municipal Water and Wastewater Sector

Q: How much energy is consumed by drinking water and wastewater utilities?
A: The US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 3% of national energy consumption, equivalent to approximately 56 billion kilowatt hours (kWh), is used for drinking water and wastewater services. In New York State, this sector consumes approximately 3 billion kWh per year. This is equivalent to the energy consumed by roughly 500,000 New York households – more than the number of households in the cities of Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, Binghamton and Yonkers combined.

Q: What is the difference between energy efficiency and energy conservation?
A: Simply put, energy conservation involves modifying behavior in order to save energy. Typically, energy conservation employs a no-cost strategy. An example is turning off unnecessary lighting during working hours. Energy efficiency means installing equipment or processes that use less energy or modifying processes to reduce electrical demand. Examples include replacing a standard-efficiency motor with a premium-efficiency motor or shifting run-times to off-peak hours. Efficiency measures can be no to low-cost or can require a capital investment. However, both energy conservation and efficiency measures help reduce energy use and energy costs.

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Energy Efficient Equipment and Technologies

Q: What is a variable speed drive (VSD)?
A: A variable speed drive (VSD) or variable-frequency drive (VFD) is a system for controlling the rotational speed of an electric motor by controlling the frequency of the electrical power supplied to the motor (VFDs) or by varying the voltage to the motor (VSDs).

Q: What is the difference between a standard efficiency motor and a premium efficiency motor?
A: The amount of input power needed to produce rated horsepower varies from motor to motor, with more-efficient motors requiring less input wattage than less-efficient models to produce the same output. A premium efficiency motor is typically 2% to 5% more efficient than a standard one.

Q: What is load shifting?
A: Load shifting is the practice of altering the pattern of energy use so that on-peak energy use is shifted to off-peak periods.

Q: How can load shifting lower my electric costs?
A: Some energy providers offer a dual on-peak, off-peak basis rate structure. Shifting more demand to off-peak times would result in savings.

Q: What is cogeneration?
A: Cogeneration (also combined heat and power, CHP) is the use of an engine generator, microturbine, or fuel cell to simultaneously generate both electricity and useful heat.

Q: What is load shifting?
A: Load shifting is the practice of altering the pattern of energy use so that on-peak energy use is shifted to off-peak periods.

How can load shifting lower my electric costs?
Some energy providers offer a dual on-peak, off-peak basis rate structure. Shifting more demand to off-peak times would result in savings.

What is cogeneration?
A: Cogeneration (also combined heat and power, CHP) is the use of an engine generator, microturbine, or fuel cell to simultaneously generate both electricity and useful heat.

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Glossaries of Energy Terms

Ask the Expert

If your question wasn't addressed here, please email water@nyserda.ny.gov.

Last Updated: 06/12/2014