ALBANY, N.Y. - The New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) approved an energy efficiency initiative that aims to reduce electricity sales in the state by 7.5 percent by 2015, relative to projected sales for this year. Without the initiative, the state’s electricity sales are expected to increase by 9 percent, so the initiative actually represents a 15 percent decrease from projected sales.

Called the Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard, the new program will be funded by an average 90 percent increase in the systems benefit charge paid by electric utility customers, starting in October 2008. That increase will yield $172 million annually to be applied to energy efficiency programs, which are expected to save customers more than $4 billion by 2015. It will initially fund a number of fast-track programs, including efforts to promote the use of energy efficient central air conditioners, expand weatherization services for the homes of low-income families, increase the use of the whole building design approach for energy efficient commercial buildings, provide energy efficiency retrofits for small businesses, enhance a program to encourage industrial energy efficiency, and expand a technical assistance program for energy efficiency.

In addition, added charges for natural gas will generate $13 million annually through 2011. Those funds will go directly toward a program to promote efficient furnaces, boilers, and water heaters, as well as solar hot water heaters and insulating wraps for existing hot water tanks. The program will also encourage conservation measures for hot water, including low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators. Those and other efforts are expected to yield $160 million in benefits to the state’s economy.

Publication date:07/21/2008