Letters to the editor, June 7

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Darth VDER is cheating NYers

Did you know that a recent decision by New York State energy regulators means that 32 percent of all New York City residents are not treated equally when it comes to accessing renewable energy as compared to other New York state residents? This affects all of us who do not pay our energy bills directly to Con Ed, including everyone living at Stuy Town, Waterside and most people living in large multifamily buildings, even though we pay the same amount as the other 68 percent of New York state residents to fund the state’s clean energy programs.

For most of us in New York City, remote renewable energy – also known as community distributed generation (CDG) – is the only option we have if we want to purchase clean renewables energy. Recently the Public Service Commission – a board of utility regulators appointed by Governor Cuomo – changed the rules for valuing clean energy generated at locations remote to where is consumed.

This new method, called VDER (Value of Distributed Energy Resources), applies to solar, wind and hydro-electric generation and is intended to succeed the current net meter value methodology. VDER differentiates between those of who pay their Con Ed bill directly to Con Ed, known as Direct Metered and those that do not, known as Master Metered or Master/Submetered, crediting Direct Metered residents almost 50 percent more value. It’s not fair.

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NYCHA buildings getting energy efficiency upgrades

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Nearly 300 New York City Housing Authority developments will be upgraded and retrofitted to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and generate cost savings with at least $100 million in work through a series of Energy Performance Contracts, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office announced last Thursday.

Facilitated by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, the upgrades are part of the mayor’s commitment to an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The reduction in consumption will also help NYCHA mitigate the impact of rising utility costs to save funds for other building upgrades and repairs.

Utility costs for water, electricity and heat in NYCHA developments have increased 64 percent over the last ten years even though consumption has only increased 9 percent, so the upgrades planned include energy-saving measures for heating plants and distribution, as well as the installation of energy efficient lighting.

The Request for Proposal, released today, will try to find energy services companies that maximize energy savings and cost savings throughout 50 percent of NYCHA’s properties, 89 developments encompassing 87,000 apartments and representing more than 200,000 residents. Currently, the annual utility cost for these developments is almost $300 million. Subsequent RFPs will seek bids for additional properties, for up to 300 NYCHA developments. In the mayor’s green buildings plan, the city has committed to retrofitting all public buildings with significant energy use by 2025 and public housing is a key component to the plan.

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