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Energy Efficient System to Lower Demand and Cut Costs of Oneida-Madison Electric Cooperative

Connie Cullen
Wayne Sherwood, OMEC

November 1, 2006


WHITE PLAINS—The Oneida-Madison Rural Electric Cooperative (OMEC) and the New York Power Authority (NYPA) today announced the implementation of a peak load management program which is projected to save OMEC about $47,000 annually and reduce peak demand by 300 kW—the equivalent to power used by about 240 homes. 

This project will switch water heaters off for short periods during times of maximum system demand and also switch them on during off-peak periods.  The technology to be used would be control switches, at members’ homes, operated by an automatic supervisory control using computer software and hardware from the OMEC headquarters via the internet to OMEC substations, which sends a signal over existing power lines to operate the control switches.   The manufacturer of the technology is Cannon Technologies of Minnesota.  The labor to install the system will be supplied by OMEC electric workers over a two-year period.  Work on the program began in early October with installation of power line equipment, to carry the system, in the OMEC substations.

“This is just the type of energy efficiency project, the Power Authority envisioned when NYPA’s Statewide Energy Services Program was expanded earlier this year to include projects by municipal and rural electric cooperative systems,” said Timothy S. Carey, president and chief executive officer, NYPA.  “The many benefits to muni and coop systems including low-interest financing under NYPA’s Statewide Energy Services Program serve Governor Pataki’s leadership in guiding New Yorkers to reduce energy use, which saves money and contributes to a cleaner environment.”

“There are benefits to be gained in cost to our members by using NYPA’s low-cost financing and in the reduction of both NYPA’s and our system peak demand by implementing this program,” said Wayne Sherwood, general manager, OMEC.  

During the peak periods for this coop system, in early morning and early evening, this system will cycle water heaters on and off for short periods in a manner designed to go virtually unnoticed by customers.   The system will not operate during non-peak times and water heaters will function in their usual way.  

This program will initially be installed in the homes of 300 consumer members who will receive a small credit on their monthly bill, and is expected to be eventually expanded to approximately 500 switches installed. 

Energy savings from the project are projected at $47,000 per year.  The project, estimated to cost $207,000, will be financed through NYPA, to be paid back over a 10-year period.  Costs will be recouped from the savings and repaid at one-tenth of a cent per kilowatt hour, on customers’ bills.  After the payback period, OMEC will realize the full amount of the savings cutting energy costs for their membership.   

OMEC is one of the 51 municipal and rural electric cooperative systems to receive hydropower from NYPA, which helps to keep their rates low.  If they exceed their hydropower allocation, OMEC and other systems obtain power from other sources for those incremental amounts. 

 “By cutting down on the use of incremental power beyond the low-cost hydropower we receive from the Power Authority through the use of this energy conservation effort, OMEC’s power cost will be reduced and the savings passed on to the members,” added Sherwood.  

Under Governor Pataki, NYPA has increased its commitment to energy efficiency programs and this year achieved the $1 billion mark for financing and administering nearly 1,500 wide-ranging, clean energy projects at 2,400 facilities including schools, police precincts, fire stations, hospitals, museums, libraries, and government buildings across New York State.   In total, the measures equate to reducing oil use by 1.8 million barrels a year and avoiding annual greenhouse gas emissions of more than 750,000 tons.  They also achieve annual savings on municipal electric bills of more than $95 million and reduction in peak electricity use by about 200,424 kilowatts or enough electricity for about 160,000 homes.

  About NYPA:

 ■    NYPA uses no tax money or state credit.  It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity.  ■    NYPA is a leader in promoting energy-efficiency, new energy technologies and electric transportation initiatives.  ■    It is the nation’s largest state-owned electric utility, with 18 generating facilities in various parts of the state and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines.

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