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reactive power and power factor

Con Edison is committed to New York State’s plan to reduce electricity use by 15 percent by 2015, and to significantly reduce carbon emissions in the coming decades. Con Edison, the Public Service Commission (PSC), and other electric utilities in the state have been evaluating ways to reduce energy loss on New York’s electric grid. These losses are damaging to the environment and cost hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

One of the most significant ways electricity is lost occurs when reactive power travels along power lines. Reactive power is required for electric motors, fluorescent ballasts and other equipment to start up. The more reactive-power that customers use, the more energy the electric system loses, with a corresponding increase in the amount of greenhouse gases that are released into the atmosphere.

To encourage businesses to reduce their use of reactive power, we will be introducing a new reactive power charge. Large commercial customers will be charged when their power factor, or efficiency, is less than 95 percent.

We are prepared to help our commercial and industrial customers understand what they can do to reduce the impact on energy bills that may result from the new reactive-power charge as well as mandatory hourly pricing. In March 2010, we held two Reactive Power/Hourly Pricing Info Exchanges. We have also developed the following information sheets and specialized newsletter, Smarter Energy Management.

The reactive-power charge will be introduced over the next two years, and will be implemented in two phases. The first phase will begin in January 2011 for customers whose monthly demand is 1,000 kW or higher. The second phase will begin in October 2011 for customers whose monthly demand is between 500 kW and 1,000 kW. The charge will also apply to customers who have induction generators that meet 1,000 kW and 500 kW thresholds.

In its Order, issued and effective February 17, 2010, in Case 08-E-0751, the PSC approved reactive-power charges as proposed in Con Edison's October 21, 2009 tariff filing, and modified by its January 25, 2010 tariff filing.  Below are copies of both filings.

January 25, 2010 filing

October 21, 2009 filing

If you have any questions, please call your senior customer service representative at the number shown on your bill. We look forward to working with you to ensure a cleaner energy future.

Con Edison offers demand-response programs that help businesses reduce energy costs and improve air quality.


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