State Energy Officials Promote Energy Efficiency
Programs and Urge Energy Conservation
Stephen Shoenholz, NYPA
Tom Collins, NYSERDA
518-862-1090, Ext. 3250
October 25, 2005
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ALBANY—Two of New York State’s top energy
officials, Peter R. Smith, president of the New York State Energy
Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), and Eugene W. Zeltmann,
president and chief executive officer of the New York Power Authority
(NYPA), joined forces Tuesday in reaching out to businesses throughout
the state to provide information on available programs and methods that
will help save energy this winter, as prices for natural gas, heating
oil and electricity are expected to rise.
“High prices for natural gas and oil inevitably
affect the cost of electricity in New York State,” Zeltmann said.
“These two fuels account for more than 30 percent of the electricity
generated in the state, a figure that is about double the national
average. Energy efficiency, which is important for environmental and
national security reasons, has now become absolutely critical to
businesses in terms of pure economics as we face increases in power
costs that could reach crisis proportions.”
“Now, more than ever, it is critical that
businesses, like residents, look to the programs, services and energy
saving measures that are provided through state and federal government
programs to ease the burden this winter,” Smith said. “As we strive to
promote renewable energy throughout New York State, it is important that
we maximize every opportunity to implement energy efficiency measures
that will assist us with our current energy needs and help reduce
It is forecast that prices for natural gas and
heating oil this winter will be more than 30 percent higher than last
year. Average costs for electricity on the state’s wholesale markets in
September were more than double those of a year earlier, and
year-to-date costs through September were 45 percent higher than in the
comparable period in 2004.
Noting that Gov. George E. Pataki has made New York
a national leader in energy efficiency and the use of clean, renewable
resources such as solar and wind power, Smith and Zeltmann said programs
and energy saving measures that their authorities offer are in line with
the Governor’s vision. They stated that ambitious energy-saving
initiatives by businesses would complement those by individual consumers
and government agencies as the critical cold-weather period approaches.
Zeltmann said the Power Authority supplies
economical electricity to about 800 businesses and non-profit
organizations, helping to protect more than 400,000 jobs in New York
“For many of our customers, and for other companies
in all parts of the state, energy costs are vital in determining whether
they’ll be able to stay and possibly expand in New York or will have to
cut back, leave the state or go out of business,” he said. “The problem
is particularly acute for industries relying on natural gas in their
manufacturing processes and as a fuel for electricity, since they get
hit twice by high gas prices.”
Zeltmann said the price of electricity on New York
State markets is set by the cost of the most-expensive energy required
to meet overall system needs, putting a premium on reducing use at times
of greatest demand.
“In most cases, an additional power plant that has
to run to meet peak needs will be fueled by expensive natural gas or
oil,” he said. “So by saving energy, or shifting some of their use to
off-peak periods, businesses can contribute significantly to lowering
costs and ensuring a reliable power supply.”
Smith said NYSERDA offers several programs, as part
of the New York Energy $martSM initiative, that can minimize the effects
of cold weather on businesses’ energy costs. These include:
The Energy Audit Program, which helps companies
identify measures to save electricity, implement energy efficiency
strategies and make informed decisions about electricity use.
The Technical Assistance Program, which allows
businesses to choose engineering firms to develop and provide
customized, cost-effective energy efficiency measures.
The FlexTech Program, which uses more than 30
pre-selected engineering firms to provide customized assistance under
the Technical Assistance Program.
The Commercial and Industrial Performance Program,
which offers financial incentives, based on performance, to contractors
implementing cost-effective measures to promote efficient use of
electricity or demand-reduction for eligible customers. Among the
measures are efficient lighting and motors, variable-speed drives,
energy management systems and packaged air conditioning and chillers.
Smith said businesses can also take various actions
on their own, with full paybacks typical in two to three years. These
actions range from installing energy efficient light bulbs and exit
signs to weather stripping doors, inspecting ventilation systems and
activating power saving features on office equipment.
Zeltmann said the Power Authority and NYSERDA are
working closely with Governor Pataki and other state agencies to promote
He noted that NYPA, NYSERDA and the state Consumer
Protection Board, along with National Grid, will sponsor a free Energy
Expo from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 5 at the Dr. Charles R. Drew Magnet School in Buffalo.
Vendors and other energy professionals will provide advice on such
subjects as home and business energy audits, lighting, weatherizing and
lowering energy bills. A similar event in Saranac Lake on Sept. 17
attracted more than 300 people.
Zeltmann also cited NYPA’s extensive energy
efficiency programs for schools and other public facilities in New York
State. He said projects completed at about 2,350 facilities have cut
demand for electricity by more than 190,000 kilowatts while saving
taxpayers more than $90 million a year on electricity bills and reducing
annual emissions of greenhouse gases by about 712,000 tons.