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N.Y. PSC cites success of program that has deferred substation construction

The New York State Public Service Commission on July 13 extended and expanded Consolidated Edison's Brooklyn Queens Demand Management, or BQDM, program, citing the success the program has experienced to date.

Through energy efficiency programs and demand management, Con Edison's BQDM, which began in 2014, is expected to save customers approximately $24.5 million over the life of the program, the PSC said.

These energy reduction measures have allowed the investor-owned utility to defer the construction of a $1 billion substation and, with the PSC's order, BQDM is adding additional distributed energy resources, such as fuel cells, solar power, battery storage and thermal storage, "that will enable the deferral of additional traditional infrastructure, creating additional savings for customers," the commission said.

The program was scheduled to end next year, but the success of BQDM was cited by the commission in the order extending the program. With the order, the company can obtain additional demand reductions and defer additional traditional infrastructure investments, without any additional funding.

The commission said that extending the program without additional funding is possible because Con Edison has been able to achieve the demand management reductions it needed while staying within the budget previously approved.

By next summer, the BQDM program will have contracted for more than 52 MW of non-traditional, customer-side and utility-side solutions to meet energy demand, according to the PSC.

Currently, 6,000 small businesses, 1,400 multifamily buildings, and 8,800 family residences are part of BQDM.

Efficiency measures by small businesses have resulted in over 110 GWh of annual energy reduction, while similar measures in multi-family residences and individual apartments have reduced more than 27 GWh in annual energy consumption, the commission said.

Going forward, Con Edison anticipates future energy savings that are similar to those achieved so far.

"BQDM is one of the best examples of the energy reforms underway in New York thanks to Governor Cuomo's long-term energy strategy REV - Reforming the Energy Vision," said PSC Chairman John Rhodes.

The commission said the continuation of BQDM will also help develop another key initiative under REV, namely partnerships between private energy developers and utilities for distributed energy resources.

"The DER marketplace will benefit consumers by providing smaller, cleaner energy systems through a variety of technologies, including solar, combined heat and power, microgrids, wind turbines, gas-fired micro turbines, back-up generation and energy storage," the PSC said.

Con Edison first sought authorization in 2014

Con Edison first requested authorization to begin the BQDM program on July 15, 2014 to alleviate the forecast overload conditions on sub-transmission feeders serving the Brownsville No. 1 and No. 2 area substations in 2018.

The Brownsville No. 1 and No. 2 area substations serve parts of southwest Queens and northern Brooklyn in the Ridgewood, Crown Heights, and Richmond Hill distribution networks, referred to as the "B/Q area."

In the absence of the BQDM program to meet the anticipated load growth in the B/Q area, Con Edison forecasted that it would have to construct a new distribution substation, construct a new switching station on the existing property of the Gowanus Switching Station and construct sub-transmission feeders between the new substation and the Gowanus Switching Station, to be in service by the summer of 2017.

The PSC in December 2014 issued an order that authorized Con Edison to implement the BQDM program.

In that order, the commission established a $200 million budget for Con Edison to acquire 41 MW of customer-side distributed energy resources and load reduction solutions and 11 MW of non-traditional utility-side solutions, with the combined 52 MW to be in place for the summer of 2018.