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ConEd offering electricity incentives as Westchester gas moratorium drags on

Con Edison is offering to pay natural gas users in Westchester to switch to electricity as the area endures a moratorium on gas.

The utility said it will double incentives for its multi-family and commercial and industrial users and work with developers of new buildings who choose clean alternatives offered under its Smart Solutions for Gas program to customers in Westchester.

“Our Smart Solutions program is all about taking advantage of technology and innovation to provide our customers with clean energy choices and meet their heating needs,” said Vicki Kuo, director of Energy Efficiency programs for Con Edison. “Our incentives lower the upfront costs of upgrades and will help the state meet its environmental goals.”

The company is investing $223 million in the Smart Solutions program to help customers throughout the service area choose high-efficiency heating technology and reduce their need for natural gas from interstate pipelines that bring fuel into the region. (For a full list of eligible projects and details on the incentives, go here.)

The Yonkers Housing Authority plans on taking advantage of the program at its William A. Schlobohm Houses, which has eight buildings and 411 apartments.

“We see the Con Edison incentives as a great environmental and economic opportunity,” said Joseph Shuldiner, executive director of the Housing Authority. “Our investment will lower our energy usage and costs, reduce emissions and enhance the comfort of our residents for decades to come.”

The work will include cleaning gas boilers and repairing steam distribution equipment.

Con Edison has a contract with Dandelion Energy, which installs geothermal heat pumps for residential customers to provide them with electric heating and cooling.

A geothermal heat pump – also called a ground-source heat pump – transfers heat from under the ground into a building during the winter. During the summer, the opposite takes place; the system takes heat from inside the building and sends it into the earth. The technology works because the temperatures in the earth remain constant through all kinds of weather.

Con Edison also has a contract with Sealed, a company that installs insulation and smart technology that saves energy.

While offering the incentives, Con Ed said it continues to pursue natural gas infrastructure projects that can meet state, federal and local requirements.

An ongoing Westchester gas moratorium is being blamed for putting economic development projects at risk and costing the county jobs. Union leader John Murphy told a meeting last month, “The largest development projects in New York State depend on access to natural gas, so if natural gas isn’t available, those projects don’t move forward and quality union jobs go away. It’s time to stop playing games and put New Yorkers to work building the infrastructure we need to power our state.”

The Business Council of Westchester has created a task force focused on developing short and long-term solutions to address the moratorium.

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