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August 5, 2009

Energy Program Reaching Achievement Goals

NYSERDA Getting Results in Energy Savings and Research

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has effectively managed the Energy Efficiency, Low-Income Assistance, and Research and Development programs funded by the state’s Systems Benefit Charge (SBC), according to an audit released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

“Energy prices are higher and demand is increasing,” DiNapoli said. “Programs focusing on energy savings, consumer assistance and research are critical for New York families. For a decade, NYSERDA has met this mission and showed how a state program should be run to benefit consumers and taxpayers.”

The SBC was established in 1996 to provide funds for various public benefit programs that serve the needs of the state’s residential and commercial energy consumers. Over the nearly 10-year period from July 1, 1998 through March 31, 2008, the authority spent $968 million on SBC-funded programs and related administrative and program evaluation costs.

Expenditures were distributed across four program areas: Energy Efficiency ($533 million); Low-Income Assistance ($148 million); Research and Development ($151 million); and General Awareness ($20 million). The remaining $116 million funded program administration and evaluation, environmental disclosure, and state cost recovery fees.

In the area of energy efficiency, the authority reported a total of 3,121 gigawatt hours (GWh) in electricity savings over the 10-year period. That is enough power to light more than 445,000 homes a year. Efficiency programs also led the state to reduce its peak demand load by 1,119 megawatts (MW), the power needed to supply 559,500 homes at any given time.

The authority reported 65 GWh of annual energy savings, 11 MW of demand savings and more than 631,000 MMBtu (million British thermal units) of fuel savings over the 10-year period through low income assistance programs. Since July 1, 2006, low-income programs funded by the SBC served almost 11,000 homes and 32,000 individuals through seminars and workshops.

Through research and development, the authority reported 216 GWh in energy savings and 133 MW in demand reductions.

DiNapoli’s auditors determined the achievements and performance measures reported were well documented and verifiable, and based on data which has already been verified by independent program evaluators hired by the authority.

Auditors found errors in a few achievements reported by NYSERDA, but they were not significant and did not affect the performance reported for individual projects or the program as a whole.

A 2006 OSC audit of the SBC administration found that procedures were in place to ensure that SBC-related goods and services were paid in accordance with contract terms and that the Public Service Commission properly monitored the overall performance of SBC-funded programs.

Click here for a full copy of the audit report.



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