The control of New York’s electricity system was historically owned by one utility. This led to costly and inefficient state energy services. In the 1990s, the state enacted energy deregulation to allow the industry to be open to competition. The expectation was that increased competition could result in lower electricity and gas prices. The results have been disappointing.
In contrast, the state’s regulatory system has been more or less constant over the years. The 2014 REV is the most recent change. It promises price relief via modern infrastructure. The plan also promises to cut greenhouse gas emissions which is a crucial part of the state’s climate targets. It also includes significant innovations in the state’s energy systems.
One of the most important changes was the depletion of coal in the state’s electricity production. Although the four nuclear power plants continue to contribute a significant amount to electricity supply, the rest of the power used by the state comes mainly from dual-fuel generators that run on either natural gas or oil. The balance of the fuel mix is important to keep the costs of consumers at a minimum.
The grid can better manage fuel availability and price fluctuations by using a diverse fuel mix. The amount of energy generated by each source is different according to the time of year and day. Peak demand means that the system is stretched, and more expensive generators are needed. The worst case scenario would see the entire system out of balance and potentially vulnerable to power outages.
The New York Independent System Operator oversees the state’s grid and works with the utilities to inform customers of anticipated price increases. The agency is a part of the Eastern Interconnection, which extends from the Rocky Mountains to the East Coast.
In addition to overseeing the state’s power grid The operator also monitors the electricity entering the grid from other grids. The control room, which costs $38 million, is located close to Albany. In hot weather, the center is tasked with ensuring that enough power is available to nine million people. In the summer, the peak demand is around 3 p.m., when air conditioners start blasting.
The NYSEG System Operator (ISO) also collaborates with the state’s six electric and gas utilities to check the flow of power and to keep the grid running smoothly. It is well-equipped to deal with the winter months. The winter forecast for the state is no power shortages.
The primary renewable source in New York of energy is hydroelectricity. In 2017, 28 percent of the state’s electricity came from this source. The remainder came from other renewable sources like nuclear power or hydropower. The goal is to produce half of the state’s electricity through renewable sources by 2030.
In addition to the state-regulated utilities, the state is home to numerous energy service providers. These companies provide energy to residents and businesses and charge delivery fees. They also offer fixed rate plans, which let consumers choose which company will provide their electricity and natural gas. The best supplier will give consumers more options.