Long Islanders have been increasingly taking advantage of innovative energy efficiency programs to reduce both their power bills and their impact on the environment. More and more customers have been taking action, whether it’s by doing simple things like switching to LED light bulbs or by upgrading to newer energy-efficient appliances or by adopting smart thermostats that reduce usage during peak hours.
Their conservation efforts have paid off. In 2017, Long Island power customers saved themselves more than $46 million on their bills. In terms of power consumption, that translates to a reduction of 280,000 megawatt hours (MWh) over the course of the year. According to the energy industry publication Electric Light & Power, this is the equivalent of taking 45,000 cars off of the road.
What programs are Long Islanders participating in?
To ease the burden on the power grid, a variety of energy efficiency programs have been created since 2014 on Long Island, applying to both residential and commercial customers. These programs primarily work by reducing the cost of newer more efficient technologies for consumers through rebates and rewards.
South Fork Peak Savers offers free smart thermostats
One of the more unique energy efficiency incentives on Long Island is South Fork Peak Savers (SFPS), which is centered around the use of smart thermostats and energy efficient pool pumps.
SFPS offers customers free smart thermostats (or large rebates on existing smart thermostats) in exchange for enrolling in their conservation program. Customers also receive a cash bonus of $25 for every year that they remain enrolled in the program.
The program works by making minor, short-term adjustments to air conditioning via the smart thermostat during periods of heavy demand for electricity. These adjustments are usually in the range of 1-3° and have the effect of reducing strain on the electric system. Program members maintain ultimate control over their thermostat settings.
In general, the use of smart thermostats decreases power consumption since heating and cooling can be programmed to fit people’s schedules. While the technology is relatively new, so far multiple studies indicate that users of smart thermostats like Nest save an average of more than 10% on their energy bills.
To be eligible, customers must have an account with PSEG Long Island, must live in the service areas of East Hampton and Southampton and must have a compatible central air conditioning unit and a wireless internet connection. The program currently works with two smart thermostat brands:
PSEG customers can enroll in the Rush Hour Rewards program to receive a free Nest smart thermostat or a rebate of up to $500 on an existing unit. One per central air zone.
Existing eligible Honeywell customers can enroll in the Connected Savings program to get a rebate of $250 for one thermostat or $500 for two or more.
In addition to smart thermostats, SFPS has an energy efficiency rebate program for pool pumps. Energy Star® pool pumps use as little as ¼ the energy of standard models, which reduces demand on the power grid and can save users hundreds of dollars per year. In an effort to spur the adoption of these energy-efficient pool pumps, SFPS offers up to $950 in combined rebates for eligible customers who make the switch.
PSEG Offers Incentives for Purchasing Appliances and Lighting and for Recycling Old Units
The PSEG Long Island Energy Efficiency Program encourages conservation by offering rebates on a wide variety of appliances, including dishwashers, refrigerators, dryers, air purifiers, power strips and dehumidifiers. Customers can also receive rebates on LED bulbs. Purchases must be pre-approved to qualify for rebates.
In 2017, more than 10,000 appliances were upgraded to energy efficient models. Since 2014, more than 13 million Energy Star bulbs have been sold through the program. Electric Light & Power describes these efforts as extremely cost-effective, with savings benefits of more than $3 for every $1 spent.
n addition to rebates for new purchases, Long Island customers can receive vouchers for recycling their old refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners and dehumidifiers.
Commercial customers can take advantage of the utility’s professional energy consultations. Their experts tour business facilities to analyze energy usage and create a green plan that reduces consumption and increases profitability.
Long Island’s Popularity Creates a Burden on the Power Grid
Long Island’s natural beauty is a major part of what draws people to the area and keeps them around year after year. However, the island’s incredible popularity during the warmer months can be a double-edged sword. While visitors bring commerce and liveliness to the Hamptons, the large number of people, the vast properties and the large supply of pools also put strain on local power resources. That has clear implications for the climate, but it also raises the need for additional power infrastructure, which is costly, disruptive and can diminish Long Island’s natural beauty.
How You Can Save Money and Protect the Environment
If you live on Long Island, you may be eligible for energy-efficiency incentives like free smart thermostats or rebates on appliances and light bulbs. Check with the respective programs today (contact info below) to see if you qualify. It’s a clear win-win; you can help yourself save money and help the effort to keep Long Island clean!
South Fork Peak Savers: