Hot Weather Leads N.Y. Power Authority To Activate Summer Power Demand Reduction Program In New York City: Customer Conservation Measures Support Reliable Electricity Service

Paul DeMichele
(914) 390-8186

June 8, 2011


WHITE PLAINS— New York Power Authority (NYPA) President and Chief Executive Officer Richard M. Kessel today announced the activation of a program to reduce electricity demand by NYPA’s New York City governmental customers to address the expected 90-degree-plus temperatures and high humidity. The Peak Reduction initiative, which is being undertaken for the first time this summer, provides for commitments to lower electricity use at 67 locations during the highest-demand days of the air-conditioning season, when called upon. 

“Today’s electricity-demand reduction event is part of our efforts for ensuring reliability of electricity service during those periods when the electric power grid is most challenged,” Kessel said.  “Summer is when electricity use spikes sharply and the margins between electricity supplies and power demand become tighter.  It is critical that we keep the lights on and that electricity prices are managed effectively by mobilizing demand-response programs in cooperation with other industry organizations and customers.”  

New York State’s summer peak demand can increase 80 percent above the average level of electricity use, for the additional consumption of up to 15,000 megawatts (MW).  

The Power Authority’s Peak Reduction option, which can be activated up to 15 weekdays from June 1 to Sept. 30, provides for electricity-lowering commitments by the Authority’s governmental customers of approximately 27 MW. The duration of the reductions is limited to two to six hours, between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Among the 23 participating customers are the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, the New York City Department of Education, the New York City Police Department, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, and the City University of New York.  These agencies reduce their electricity demand with conservation measures such as shutting off nonessential lighting and discretionary equipment and, in some cases, operating small, properly permitted on-site generators. In return for the power curtailment, NYPA pays them $25 per kilowatt, for an expected outlay of hundreds of thousands of dollars by summer’s end.

The Power Authority’s Peak Reduction initiative, now in its 12th summer, is one of several demand-response options that NYPA offers its customers under an umbrella program known as Peak Load Management. Those options, which include statewide programs by the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), involve commitments by NYPA customers to reduce electricity use by nearly 532 MW. 

“The money invested by NYPA in its peak-reduction program is well spent, with each conserved kilowatt of power of exponential importance for enhancing service reliability during the summer and managing electricity prices,” Kessel said. “Demand-response initiatives such as ours, along with measures for improved energy efficiency, are as important as actual generating supplies for meeting electricity load.  They’re all key elements for having the necessary resources.”

The Power Authority is a national leader in promoting energy efficiency, both at its own facilities and at those of its customers.  Last year, NYPA financed roughly $175 million in energy efficiency and clean energy projects, setting a new record for the second consecutive year for its annual expenditures on completed or ongoing initiatives at public facilities throughout the state. 

In New York City where NYPA’s governmental customers consume upwards of 1,800 MW of power during peak summer demand periods, the Authority has financed approximately
$913 million in energy efficiency and clean energy projects over the last two decades. The improvements have cut peak electricity demand by about 114 MW. (One megawatt, or 1,000 kilowatts, is enough to meet the electricity needs of 800 to 1,000 typical homes.)

The Power Authority’s comprehensive summer preparedness efforts also involve proper maintenance of its 17 generating facilities, with a total combined capacity of 5,450 MW, and of 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines, for ensuring full strength for meeting the season’s higher electricity demand. The practices for achieving this include helicopter inspections of the overhead lines to identify any potential problems such as fallen tree limbs or overgrown vegetation for making sure the equipment is operating unimpeded and as designed.

NYPA also has made significant investments over recent years in upgrading its generating and transmission facilities.  This includes life extension and modernization programs at major hydroelectric projects upstate and initiatives involving “smart-grid” technologies for enhancing transmission reliability and performance.  

About NYPA:

■ The New York Power Authority 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 public power organization, with 17 generating facilities in various parts of New York State and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. ■ Approximately 80 percent of the electricity it produces is clean renewable hydropower.  Its lower-cost power production and electricity purchases support hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the state. ■For more information, www.nypa.gov.


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