New York State Announces $250 Million Westchester Clean Energy Action Plan

Department of Public Service is Independently Reviewing Con Edison Data to Ensure Appropriate Steps are Taken to Maintain Reliability and Extend Energy Services to New Customers

March 14, 2019

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), Department of Public Service (DPS) and New York Power Authority (NYPA) today announced a Westchester Clean Energy Action Plan to provide immediate relief to Westchester County businesses and residents affected by Con Edison’s announcement that it will put new applications for firm natural gas service on a waiting list beginning March 15.

As DPS independently reviews Con Edison’s claims of a shortage in natural gas supply, the State is advancing a $250 million Westchester Clean Energy Investment Program to provide local investment in clean energy alternatives such as electric heat pumps, high-efficiency appliances, equipment and building materials that will lower energy costs for consumers and reduce demand in order to accommodate new customers.

The $250 million Westchester Clean Energy Investment Program includes:

  • $165 million in grants from the Smart Solutions package that the Public Service Commission (PSC) recently directed Con Edison to deploy toward heat pumps and increasing gas efficiency for residential, multifamily and commercial and industrial customers.
  • An additional $53 million in clean energy incentives and investments that NYSERDA will provide to Westchester customers.
    • $28 million will be used for grants for new customers, including low-to-moderate residential developments waitlisted by Con Edison for natural gas to use alternative heating and cooling systems and adopt energy efficient solutions.
    • $25 million will be used to provide grants to improve energy efficiency in Westchester and reduce overall and peak energy demand from existing customers in the region to free up capacity.
  • An additional $32 million in low-cost NYPA financing services for its Westchester customers to retrofit heating systems with clean energy alternatives. NYPA is committing to provide energy audits and screenings to support its governmental customer base and identify alternative options.

These investments and activities, targeted directly to the Westchester area and in zones where investments can have the greatest impact in reducing demand constraints, are estimated to reduce energy consumption equivalent to the amount of gas needed to heat over 90,000 homes. NYSERDA, NYPA, and Westchester County will support expanded contractor training in Westchester to ensure there are sufficient trained professionals to deliver these solutions in a timely manner.

Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA, said, “I’m pleased NYSERDA can be part of the solution and support accelerated deployment of clean energy programs and incentives to customers in Westchester County. We are committed to ensuring that all New Yorkers have access to affordable, safe, clean and reliable energy sources and that we can support energy upgrades in a way that drives economic growth.”

John Rhodes, CEO, Department of Public Service, said, “We are advancing initiatives to dramatically improve energy efficiency, scale demand response programs and expedite the transition to electrified heating systems, such as state-of-the-art heat pumps, all of which will offset demand for natural gas. The PSC is also pushing utility companies to use existing infrastructure more efficiently while ensuring consumers have access to affordable and reliable energy."

Gil C. Quiniones, President and CEO, NYPA, said, “NYPA’s expertise in energy efficiency for public buildings and schools will help ensure that the best energy solutions are being used county-wide, saving on costs and benefitting the environment now and into the future. Together with our partners we are making substantial clean energy investments to help lower residential energy costs and reduce demand so new customers can come online.”

George Latimer, County Executive, Westchester County said, “The deadline imposed by the abrupt announcement to place a moratorium on gas hookups throughout most of Westchester is now here. This is serious and threatens important development projects in Westchester County including affordable housing, mixed use housing, retail and commercial developments, transit-oriented development, business expansions, and more. I am grateful for these state agencies coming together with a $250 million action plan for Westchester. I thank Governor Andrew Cuomo for recognizing the seriousness of this situation and taking steps towards preventing the detrimental impact of this moratorium. This fight is far from over.”

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, "Utilizing state funds to invest in clean energy and higher-efficiency equipment is a common sense-way to improve New Yorkers’ quality of life and combat climate change. I am especially pleased that funds are being set aside to help Westchester energy consumers who will be impacted by Con Edison’s actions. I will continue to work with my colleagues in local government, Governor Cuomo, and the State Legislature to support Westchester County residents and businesses."

Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, (D-Scarsdale), said, “The State’s Westchester Clean Energy Action Plan is a good first step in providing consumers with immediate options and clean energy solutions to heat their homes more affordably. The recently announced moratorium on new natural gas service in Westchester County underlined the need for urgent, creative solutions for expediting our clean energy future. We must collectively come together to advance the clean energy economy in a way that protects both our communities and our environment.

Senator Jamaal Bailey, (D-Bronx/Westchester), said, “In this day and age, sustainability is necessary and important. I want to thank the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, Department of Public Service and the New York Power Authority for prioritizing and investing in the residents of Westchester County. The $250 million Westchester Clean Energy Investment Program will ensure that Westchester residents will have natural, high-efficient, clean energy alternatives at a low cost."

Senator Alessandra Biaggi, (D-Bronx/Westchester), said, "This $250M investment program from state energy agencies to increase energy efficiency, to reduce demand, and to find clean energy alternatives will help Westchester communities continue to thrive. It saves consumers money and helps the environment. I thank Governor Cuomo’s Administration for coming up with this creative solution."

Senator David Carlucci, (D-Westchester/Rockland), said, "The state's decision to invest in clean energy in Westchester County is smart and needed in the wake of Con Edison's decision to suspend new natural gas applications in Westchester. This decision is detrimental to residents, businesses and even schools looking to run on natural gas. Now commercial property developers will look elsewhere, causing dire economic consequences for the county. The Department of Public Service should independently investigate Con Edison's decision and any relief we can provide has my support."

Senator Peter Harckham, (D-Mt. Kisco), said, “The gas situation in Westchester, although disruptive, is a teachable moment. The $250 million Westchester Clean Energy Investment program announced today highlights that New York State is serious about protecting our County’s environment, health and safety and economy. I thank NYSERDA, DPS, and NYPA for quickly coming together to provide tangible solutions to address Westchester’s evolving energy needs.”

Senator Shelley Mayer, (D-Yonkers), said, “The action taken today by NYSERDA, DPS, and NYPA sends a strong message that protecting the environmental and economic security of Westchester County and our residents is a priority for New York State. I look forward to working with our government partners at all levels to reduce the energy burden for our hard-working families.”

Assemblyman Thomas J. Abinanti, (D-Greenburgh), said, “Working together, the executive and legislative branches will do all we can to ensure that the claimed shortage of natural gas in Westchester will not stop the continued progress we are making in modernizing and improving our community and bringing good jobs to Westchester.”

Assemblyman David Buchwald, (D-White Plains), said, “I am pleased that New York State is quickly moving forward with a broad program to help Westchester residents and business deal with Con Ed’s surprise natural gas moratorium. Incentivizing clean energy alternatives and conservation efforts are essential to providing a strong future for Westchester County.”

Assemblywoman Sandy Galef, (D-Ossining), said, “Given Con Edison’s recent announcement, I commend Governor Cuomo for taking immediate action in assisting Westchester residents and businesses. The Westchester Clean Energy Investment Program will facilitate energy alternatives in our community, and will provide financial assistance in bringing new energy sources to our county. This will help in addressing the health, safety, environmental, and economic concerns brought on by Con Edison.”

Assemblyman Steve Otis, (D-Rye), said, “This is important assistance from Governor Cuomo and our state energy agencies to provide state grants and expertise to gas customers who want to convert to alternative energy sources. The PSC will continue to analyze Con Ed's capacity issue. We need to encourage large users, businesses, schools and governments to become more energy efficient and reduce their reliance on natural gas. The program will include assistance directly to homeowners, as well. The governor and his team have been very responsive to our needs in Westchester on this issue.”

Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, (D-Mt. Vernon), said, “I applaud Governor Cuomo for investing in the needs of our constituents. A Clean Energy Action Plan is great news and is necessary for Westchester County. I greatly appreciate the services of NYSERDA, DPS and NYPA for implementing a plan that will apply immediate relief to our community.”

Assemblyman Nader Sayegh, (D-Yonkers), said, "I appreciate the efforts and the commitment by Governor Cuomo’s administration to address these matters of serious concern to the City of Yonkers and Westchester County. The Con Edison moratorium would have a tremendously negative impact on development in the City of Yonkers. The State’s initiative and funding to support residential and commercial customers impacted by the moratorium is a step in the right direction. I hope that our collaborative efforts will enable us to find a long-term solution to this urgent matter.”

Mayor Thomas Roach, White Plains, said, “Conservation saves money, benefits our environment and helps bring us closer to moving away from fossil fuels entirely. I applaud the cooperative actions announced today by NYSERDA, DPS, and NYPA to develop the $250 million Westchester Clean Energy Investment Program. This program represents a vital first step in ensuring our residents have access to safe affordable and reliable energy now and in the years to come.”

As part of an independent review launched after Con Edison’s announcement, the PSC held two public hearings in White Plains to elicit comment from the public and impacted stakeholders.

The Westchester Clean Energy Action Plan also includes a consumer awareness campaign to be led by NYSERDA, in coordination with Con Edison, Westchester County, local governments, and other stakeholders, to help communities, businesses and individuals access programs and incentives now available to help them reliably heat their homes with clean resources. As part of this effort, NYSERDA is doubling its budget for the Sustainable Westchester clean heating and cooling campaign to expand the scope of HeatSmart Westchester, a community-level initiative designed to facilitate adoption of fossil-free heating and cooling solutions such as ground-source and air-source heat pumps, as well as high-efficiency building measures such as high-performance insulation and advanced windows.

NYSERDA will sponsor sustainable and clean energy community workshops in Westchester beginning on April 24 with a workshop in Tarrytown in collaboration with Westchester County. NYSERDA will also provide free screening for electrification options for large customers and expand contractor training in the area.

Information about the Westchester Action Plan here.

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