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New York approves nearly $2B for energy efficiency

New York regulators said the state's large investor-owned gas and electric utilities together could put nearly $2 billion more toward energy efficiency and heat pump programs through 2025.

The move, approved by the state Public Service Commission on Jan. 16, will cut costs and help New York as it seeks to slash its greenhouse gas emissions, officials said.

"This historic investment shows we are aggressively pursuing clean energy alternatives to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, growing jobs in clean energy industries and protecting our environment for current and future generations," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.

A news release outlining the order and other steps New York is taking to move to cleaner energy resources said the directive, along with other initiatives, would result in a 3% reduction in annual electricity use and a 1.3% cut in annual gas use by 2025.

Of the newly approved funds to be collected from customers, nearly $893 million is slated for electric energy efficiency, while almost $553 million is to go toward gas energy efficiency and another $454 million is for heat pumps. The commission also reauthorized funding to support existing levels of utility energy efficiency activities through 2025 totaling $1.3 billion, or about $986 million for electric energy efficiency and $326 million for gas energy efficiency.

The directive applies to Avangrid Inc. subsidiaries New York State Electric & Gas Corp. and Rochester Gas and Electric Corp.; Consolidated Edison Inc. subsidiaries Consolidated Edison Co. of New York Inc. and Orange and Rockland Utilities Inc.; Fortis Inc. subsidiary Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp.; National Grid PLC subsidiaries Brooklyn Union Gas Co., KeySpan Gas East Corp. and Niagara Mohawk Power Corp.; and National Fuel Gas Co. subsidiary National Fuel Gas Distribution Corp.

According to the order, consumers would save $13 billion over the life of the programs, while the utility system would see an estimated benefit of nearly $6 billion from avoided energy, capacity and distribution costs.

PSC Chairman John Rhodes in a statement said the state needs to take an aggressive stance on energy efficiency.

"Today's action to advancing energy efficiency and the installation of heat pumps will reduce costs, reduce energy and reduce carbon," he said. (New York PSC Case 18-M-0084)