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Officials Visit Home With Plattsburgh's Latest Energy Conservation Initiative

Connie Cullen

September 7, 2007


PLATTSBURGH—Don Kasprzak, mayor, City of Plattsburgh, was joined today by John S. Brown, manager, Plattsburgh Municipal Lighting Department (PMLD), Patricia Lucia, executive director, Plattsburgh Municipal Housing Authority and John Hamor, executive director—state government affairs, New York Power Authority (NYPA) to announce Plattsburgh’s latest energy conservation initiative with the recent installation of over 400 new Energy Star® refrigerators in senior and other public housing here.   After the announcement, Ted and Ann Cooper, senior residents of Lakeview Towers, invited the officials into their home to view the new refrigerator they received as part of this new program. 

“This joint venture with the Power Authority shows the continuing work by our city to conserve energy which lowers electric bills and also contributes to cleaner air through reduced energy use,” said Mayor Kasprzak.  “Plattsburgh is proud of its energy conservation record through our Municipal Lighting Department, including helping to implement numerous energy-efficient lighting projects at local government, commercial and educational facilities, and distributing over 17,000 compact fluorescent light bulbs free to our residents.”     

“From New York City to Buffalo and now Plattsburgh, NYPA’s refrigerator replacement program is helping our state conserve energy,” said Hamor.  “Conserving energy is vitally important for the state’s future so we have the power we need, a better environment and greater independence from foreign energy sources.” 

“Reducing electricity use preserves the allocation of low-cost hydropower the city receives from the Power Authority and that helps our customers save money on their electric bills,” said Brown.  “As refrigerators run 24/7, this program reduces electric use during peak times, which means less of the additional, more-costly market power is needed.  Market rates are roughly twice the hydro rate in our region.” 

“This program is a win-win for all involved with our residents receiving beautiful new refrigerators and the housing authority reducing its operating costs by reducing energy use,” said Lucia.  “Refrigerators can be the largest user of electricity in most homes, so by installing these new units, we have found a way to save energy without any compromise in refrigeration.”  

“We are grateful to the City of Plattsburgh, our lighting department and housing authority and the Power Authority for working together to make these refrigerators available to the residents of Lakeview Towers,” said Ted Cooper.  His wife Ann added, “It is important we all play a part in conserving energy.”

The model installed is a Hotpoint® Energy Star® 15.7 Cu. Ft. Top-Freezer Refrigerator. The new refrigerators use about one-half less energy than the current units.  They reduce consumption by almost 300 kilowatt hours—equivalent to a 60-watt light bulb burning for 5,000 hours.  Total cost for the program will be approximately $245,500.  The total of barrels of oil to be displaced by this is almost 206 annually and greenhouse gases avoided over the course of a year will be about 62 tons.

Working with PMLD, NYPA provided an energy study covering design and technical information, oversaw procurement and installation of the new refrigerators, supervised removal of the old units and arranged recycling of appropriate parts.

Plattsburgh is financing the refrigerators from the Independent Energy Efficiency Program (IEEP).  Plattsburgh is one of 22 of the state’s municipal electric utilities that belong to IEEP.  IEEP is a non-profit organization providing a broad spectrum of energy-efficiency services designed for municipal electric systems in New York. 

Funds expended by IEEP members are generated through a very small charge incorporated into their electric rates which have been approved by the New York State Public Service Commission and the Power Authority.  Since 2001, municipal systems participating in IEEP have made a collective investment of more than $9 million in energy efficiency programs.

Along with Plattsburgh, the Villages of Tupper Lake and Lake Placid became the first three municipal electric systems in the state to participate in the refrigerator-replacement initiative from NYPA.  In addition to IEEP financing, municipal systems have other financing options which can be used solely or in combination.  The options also include municipal or private financing, or low-interest financing from the Power Authority for implementing energy-efficient projects with NYPA design and technical assistance.  Rural cooperative electric systems are also eligible for assistance from the Power Authority.    

In 1995, NYPA entered into its first refrigerator replacement program in public housing with the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), the nation’s largest housing authority and also, a NYPA electric customer.  Over several years, that program replaced nearly 185,000 aging refrigerators.  More than 100 housing authorities and utilities nationwide have developed programs based on this NYPA-NYCHA program.  As part of the program, the recycling of salvageable components generated millions of pounds of aluminum, copper, steel and cardboard.  NYPA’s program expanded to Buffalo in 2003, with over 1,600 units now in housing run by the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority. 

Energy-saving projects are important for NYPA’s 47 municipal electric and four rural cooperative customers, which have specific allocations of low-cost, clean hydropower for most of their electric loads, with any additional power that is needed purchased at or close to more- expensive market prices for electricity.  

   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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