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Hochul encourages New Yorkers to make energy plan ahead of winter


Mon, Nov 20th 2023 12:45 pm

State programs help manage energy use, reduce energy bills, explore electrification solutions

√ Utilities and fuel providers reminded to ensure adequate reserves and customer communication

Gov. Kathy Hochul encourages New Yorkers to prepare now to keep their homes and businesses warm heading into winter.

Her team noted multiple New York state agencies and authorities offer programs that can help residents manage energy use, reduce electric and heating bills, and increase comfort during cold temperatures by weatherizing and making these buildings more energy-efficient.

Hochul also reminded the state’s utilities and fuel providers to ensure there are adequate reserves and communication with customers to meet peak winter demand.

“As the weather gets colder, New York state is prepared to assist residents and businesses in managing their energy use, maximizing energy efficiency, and understanding the resources available in case of extreme weather,” Hochul said. “As consumers undertake their own planning, utilities and fuel suppliers should strategize now to meet consumer needs and enhance communication to reduce unexpected service interruptions and respond to emergencies.”

New Yorkers can take advantage of programs offered through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), Department of Public Service (DPS), Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA), and Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Service that provide assistance to keep families, particularly those of low-or-moderate income warm during the times of the year when energy consumption may be high.

New York state programs offer funding and technical assistance that can assist homeowners, renters and businesses manage their energy needs. This includes:

•Apply for HEAP. As of Nov. 1, applications are being accepted for the Home Energy Assistance Program, which can provide up to $976 to eligible homeowners and renters depending on income, household size and how they heat their home (e.g., family of four with a maximum monthly gross income of $5,838 can qualify). For more information, visit NYS HEAP.

•Energy affordability program/low-income bill discount. This program provides income-eligible consumers with a discount on their monthly electric and/or gas bills, as well as other benefits, depending on the characteristics of the particular utility's program. New Yorkers can be enrolled automatically if they receive benefits from a government assistance program. For more information, they should visit their utility website; or links can be found at DPS Winter Preparedness.

•Community-based service programs. Service organizations and local community agencies provide financial aid, counseling services and assistance with utility emergencies. New Yorkers can contact organizations such as the American Red Cross (800-733-2767), Salvation Army (800-728-7825), and United Way (2-1-1 or 888-774-7633) to learn more.

•Take immediate action to be more energy efficient. NYSERDA offers energy-saving tips for residents and homeowners, as well as businesses, that can lower energy use. NYSERDA also offers a range of home energy efficiency programs that can help save energy and reduce costs over time. Income-eligible customers may qualify for reduced cost or free energy upgrades to their homes through the EmPower+ program. Homeowners can check with their local gas and electric utility companies to access discounted products and services that can help them lower their energy costs all year long.

•Receive a customized list of energy-related assistance. New York Energy Advisor can help income-eligible New Yorkers locate programs that help them spend less on energy and create healthier and more comfortable spaces. With New York Energy Advisor, consumers answer simple questions and get connected with energy-saving offers in New York. Sponsored by NYSERDA and utilities, qualified New Yorkers can get help paying utility bills and receive special offers on heating assistance.

•Prioritize home heating safety. Property owners should avoid connecting occupied buildings to wells producing natural gas because doing so can be dangerous and potentially deadly. The Department of Environmental Conservation also encourages property owners who use oil for heat to inspect fuel storage tanks for potential leaks or spills before receiving shipments of fuel oil for the heating season. Additional information can be found here.

NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, “New Yorkers want to remain comfortable in their homes, and businesses want to remain open, so taking steps now to safeguard their ability to do so as we head into the winter season is invaluable. We encourage all New Yorkers to understand their energy use and adopt energy efficiency measures as well as seek out the various services and products that can save energy and help reduce out-of-pocket costs.”

State DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “In preparation for cold weather in the months ahead, Gov. Hochul is providing the resources and information New Yorkers need to help them stay warm and safe. DEC encourages property owners to prepare for the winter by making sure their home heating systems are safe to prevent potential spills or other issues, and to seek out cleaner energy sources and energy-efficient solutions that can help protect both our wallets and the environment.”

New York State Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray said, “Freezing temperatures can have serious consequences, which makes it critical New Yorkers prepare their households for the winter months. When heating their homes this winter, New Yorkers should always remember to look for ways to make your home more energy-efficient, as well as ensure that, if an alternative heat source is being utilized, it is used safely in a well-ventilated area.”

OTDA Acting Commissioner Barbara C. Guinn said, “With nighttime temperatures now dipping below freezing, it’s important that low- and moderate-income households act now to apply for assistance from HEAP so they can keep their homes warm throughout the winter. Now is also a good time to access other programs available to help reduce energy costs, including taking energy efficiency measures to ensure heating equipment is operating properly, helping to save energy and money.”

New York State Public Service Commission Chair Rory M. Christian said, “We continue to closely monitor the utilities serving New York state to ensure adequate sources and supplies of electricity and natural gas to meet expected customer demands this winter. New York state, under Gov. Hochul’s leadership, remains laser-focused on ensuring the reliability of our energy systems and the protection of consumers though energy efficiency and bill reduction programs.”

New York state's utilities – including Con Edison, Central Hudson, Orange and Rockland, National Grid, NYSEG, RG&E, National Fuel Gas, and PSEG-LI – and home heating fuel providers were also reminded to ensure adequate fuel reserves, contingency plans, and to communicate with customers to help them access assistance programs, avoid disrupted service and to keep warm. Actions include:

•Reminding dual-fueled and interruptible commercial customers to fill their alternate fuel tanks and to maintain and inspect fuel storage tanks for potential leaks or spills before receiving fuel shipments.

•Reviewing emergency plans that address alternate fuel supply disruptions, and prepare to work with local and state government agencies to protect public health and safety when temperatures drop below 20 degrees.

•Informing customers about warming centers, hot meals, and access to a list of master plumbers in case pipes freeze in unheated buildings.

•Coordinating with the New York Independent System Operator and major power generators to encourage the dual-fuel operators to fill tanks in advance of the winter heating season, and to inspect fuel storage tanks for potential leaks or spills before receiving fuel shipments.

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