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Jim Stokes
MEUA Executive Director
NYMPA General Manager

 

MEUA Executive Director Report

 

The cold front that went through the other day and ushered in the cooler and dryer air gave me that first hint of the approaching autumn. Cooler nights, the calls of the cicadas and the lowering angle of the sun are all indications that our all too brief upstate summer is coming to an end. The hot weather in June and July, which will likely extend through August, combined with the continuing volatility in the energy markets, has contributed to higher seasonal prices for supplemental energy. For those of you that are NYMPA members, your energy invoices reflect the higher levels of monthly consumption, but the price per kilowatt hour charged to your customers has remained stable due to NYMPA’s rate stabilization policies that cushion the effects of seasonal price fluctuations.

Things are changing so rapidly in our world and in the energy arena, it is hard to keep up with all the developments. We strive year-round to keep our members informed of new legislative and regulatory requirements while also offering assistance to you in the day-to-day operations of your utilities. I want to thank Mike Lyons and Chris Wentlent for their efforts, through our Independent Energy Efficiency Program, to advance applications to NYSERDA and the New York Power Authority to support member opportunities to fund fast electric vehicle chargers and energy efficiency programs. We will also be examining potential new funding opportunities from federal sources and other programs and will keep you informed of programs that appear to have potential benefits.

Mike Lyons and I will be hosting an “all hands call” for those of you that are IEEP members via Zoom on Tuesday, August 16th at 9:30 a.m. to discuss an IEEP Management Committee recommendation to increase the IEEP customer assessment to provide additional funding to all members for IEEP energy efficiency programs. We will also review other aspects of the proposed IEEP budget in advance of the upcoming Annual Conference. Please try to have a representative of your system on this important call.

I hope as many of you as possible will be able to attend the MEUA Annual Conference to be held from September 6th through 9th at the downtown Marriott Syracuse. We have a program intended to inform as well as entertain you. If you are unable to attend the entire conference, please consider coming to Syracuse for a day, two days or part of a day. More than ever, information is a valuable commodity. Our expert consultants and industry representatives will be in attendance to provide advice with respect to new regulatory requirements and technologies, as well as the ever changing energy environment.

At the Annual Conference, we will also be sharing our conclusions from the membership surveys that were sent in by MEUA and NYMPA members. As we look to the future, it is our goal to adapt to the times and adapt our means and methods to better serve our members. One common request in the survey responses was to reduce paper and mailing costs by emailing more copies of the News and Views. Starting with this edition, we are mailing only two hard copies to each municipal member system – one to the chief executive officer and one to the electric department superintendent, but emailing as many copies as we have email addresses for each system. Non-municipal hard copy distributions will remain the same for now. Narin will be following up with each system to ask for your system’s preferences going forward. If you want more hard copies or fewer hard copies, or have additional email addresses for distribution, we will tailor the distribution to each system’s specific needs and preferences.

Enjoy the rest of the Summer – hope to see you in Syracuse in September!

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Chris Wentlent

August 2022 Transmission Update

 

 

Climate Action Council Update

On July 6, the Utility Consultation Group (UCG), which MEUA is a member, provided a presentation about Natural Gas Transition Considerations to the Climate Action Council (CAC). The presentation and Q&A lasted about 45 minutes. Key messages included the timing of any natural gas phaseout must be carefully managed with the electric Transmission & Distribution upgrades and balancing of transportation and buildings electrification initiatives. A major risk would be everything is done simultaneously creating enormous stress on the current electrical system and potential new winter public safety risks associated with higher energy demand coupled with intermittent resources that may not be available. Secondly, any retirement of existing resources must be balanced with actual new resources being commercial and operational. Premature retirement of existing resources could lead to reliability gaps of reduced supply coupled with increased demand. Finally, it was recommended that all options should remain on the table as technology, and research & development are critical for filling other needs in the future. The UCG offered their knowledge and expertise for any future discussions that the CAC would like to consider.

Legislative

On July 28, the New York Assembly hosted an all-day hearing about The Role of State Authorities in Renewable Energy Development. Specially, the proposed legislation involved providing the New York Power Authority a greater role in building, owning and operating renewable energy projects. In addition, the proposed language included provisions to expand the NYPA Board from seven to seventeen members, a democracy plan, annual reporting requirements, and other specific provisions. Ten panels of speakers provided their input to Assembly members.

A NYPA representative participated on one of the ten panels and communicated that NYPA was not positioned to take on this new requirement and could not perform the tasks any more efficiently than others in the marketplace. Plus – the proposal created significant financial and fiscal considerations that might overextend the Authority from other core objectives. The next step of the legislative process would be either voting on the current legislation, rewriting the existing legislation for further discussion, or dropping the legislation.

Based on the testimony received, there were numerous areas that required revision before the proposed legislation would be broadly acceptable. It is a potential this legislation could be a topic of consideration during the 2023 legislative session.

Status of Key Air Permits

Danskammer Update – This matter involves the repowering of an existing facility to a state-of-the-art natural gas facility in the Hudson Valley. The initial permit was denied by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Following the virtual legislative public comment hearing in February 2022, an issues conference that was held on March 16, 2022, and April 20-21, 2022. The following are the next steps for the administrative proceeding:

  • 8/19/22 - Applicant's issues brief due

  • 10/7/22 - DEC staff and petitioners’ ([a] Riverkeeper [amicus]. [b] Sierra Club and Orange RAPP, and [c]Scenic Hudson) issues briefs due

  • 10/14/22 - Applicant motion (request) to reply to DEC staff and petitioners’ due Danskammer Energy Center - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation

NRG Astoria Generating Facility Upgrades Update – This matter also involves the repowering of an existing facility in New York City. The permit request was originally denied by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The developer appealed the decision. Following the legislative public comment hearing in March 2022 and an issues conference in April 2022, there was a July 22, 2022, deadline for NRG to file a response to Petitions for Party status (from prospective intervenors Sierra Club, NYC Environmental Justice Alliance, UPROSE, and THE POINT Community Development Corporation) and for DEC staff to respond to NRG’s proposed statement of issues.

Astoria Gas Turbine Power Replacement Project - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation

Greenidge T4 and T5 Permit Renewal Status Report – This matter involves the use of a behind the meter generating facility being utilized to power a Bitcoin operation in the Finger Lakes area. The Permit renewal was denied and the more detailed information about the decision is available at:

https://www.dec.ny.gov/permits/123728.html

NYISO

NYISO 2023 Project Prioritization Process – each year the NYISO stakeholders vote on which projects should be included in the 2023 budget and priorities for next year. In total, our vote covers eight systems. We selected the following projects for next year in the survey provided. The following were the projects, weight of importance and basic explanation:

  • Coordinated Grid Planning Process - 5% - T&D buildout necessary to transition to new grid of resources.

  • Balancing Intermittency - 20% - High intermittency will create new operational challenges to manage the grid. This project will evaluate ways to manage and balance intermittent resources.

  • Constraint Specific Transmission Pricing - 5% - improves the efficient operation of the transmission power grid.

  • Dynamic Reserves - 20% - a higher dependence on intermittency will create challenging gaps such as wind and solar lulls, peak and off-peak issues.

  • Engaging Demand Side - 5% - Demand resources will become a new option and source of resources to manage the grid.

  • Hybrid Aggregation - 20% - solar and energy storage must be maximized together. This project works on that capability

  • Storage as Transmission - 5% - storage could offer quick response, but also potentially as a transmission option especially for congested areas. This project looks at this second element.

  • Enhancing Interconnection Process - 20% -many ISOs/RTOs are facing bottlenecks in the interconnection process. This project will evaluate ways to improve the NY Interconnection Process.

  • The NYISO provided an initial report of the survey findings. Our eight projects were included in the top nine projects voted on by all stakeholders. The NYISO will finalize which projects to include in the 2023 budget process by August 2022.

  • New York State Reliability Council (NYSRC) – The NYSRC Executive Meeting held on Friday, July 8. C Wentlent (MEUA) was elected as NYSRC Chair beginning on August 1, 2022, and Mark Domino (NGRID) will be Vice Chair. The NYSRC is studying how Extreme Weather Events impact Resource Adequacy and Planning and is also evaluating adoption of a standard for inverter-based resources. IEEE 2800 is being considered as a minimum standard. The evaluation will last up to six months.

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Chris Wentlent
NYISO Advisor 
MEUA Consultant

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John Jennings
MEUA Lobbyist

Albany Update: John Jennings

Harter Secrest & Emery LLP

 

Things have been relatively quiet in Albany since the conclusion of the legislative session in June.  The legislature returned briefly for a special session a couple of weeks ago to pass gun control legislation in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling in a challenge to New York’s laws regarding concealed carry of pistols.  The new law tightened New York’s pistol permit process, and once it is fully in effect, will significantly restrict where permit-holders can carry concealed.  At this point, we do not anticipate that the legislature will return for any additional special sessions, but we will keep you all apprised if that changes.

In political news, New York held a primary election on June 28th for statewide offices and state Assembly seats.  The primary did not result in any significant surprises.  Governor Kathy Hochul and Lieutenant Governor Anthony Delgado both defeated several challengers for the Democratic line for those offices.  On the other side of the aisle, Congressman Lee Zeldin emerged victorious against several challengers to run for governor on the Republican line.  The majority of the primaries for Assembly seats saw older established Democrats being challenged by younger progressive candidates, and most of those challenges failed.  New York will hold another primary election on August 23rd for state Senate and Congressional seats.    As you may recall, a court overturned those districts because the legislature violated the rules against gerrymandering when they drew up those districts earlier this year.  We will update you after the 23rd regarding the results.

Finally, I wanted to highlight an open grant program that may interest member municipalities that operate water or sewer systems.  The state allocated $255 million for grants through the Water Infrastructure Improvement, Intermunicipal Grant, and State Septic System Replacement programs.  The application deadline for this funding is September 9th. 

Employment Ads

The Village of Penn Yan has an opening for one (1) Senior Lineworker.  This is a competitive NYS Civil Service position that is full time, 40 hours per week and subject to Civil Service rules for eligibility.

Primary Responsibilities

 

-Senior Lineworker will supervise the crew in the absence of the Crew Chief, assuming full

responsibility for the safe and efficient performance of their assigned work

-Engaged in any type of construction, operation or maintenance on distribution lines and associated equipment.

-Apply safety rules and regulations as they apply to line substation and service work.

-Installs, inspect and repair poles, conductor, transformers, meters, hardware and other equipment on or near energized and de-energized lines in keeping with the appropriate specifications.

-Respond to outages to investigate, locate, analyze, correct faults and restore service on distribution equipment.

-Perform line switching, including switching at a transformer or automatic air-switch station.

-Reviews plans and specifications.

-Inform supervisors of equipment and materials required to complete jobs.

-Trains other crew members in construction of electrical distribution systems.

-Performs basic maintenance on equipment.

-Other responsibilities as assigned.

 

Benefits:

Compensation rate is $41.90 to $46.64 hourly rate, dependent on years of experience, Penn Yan also offers a competitive benefits package. (Details shown below)

Competitive insurance that includes health and dental

  • Vacation Time: After 1 year of continuous employment earn 2 weeks (80 hours) paid vacation - Graduated scale thereafter based on longevity

  • Earn 8 hours of sick time each month to accumulate to 240 days that may be used for a retirement cash benefit or health insurance premiums

  • Receive 40 hours personal time June 1st of each year. Unused personal hours will rollover to sick hours annually on June 1st.

  • Step Pay Scale: Advance 1 Step upon each anniversary of hire date current pay increases for Steps:1-4, 9, 13, 18, 22,25,27

  • New York State Disability Insurance

  • 12.5 paid holidays on top of time earned

  • NYS Employees Retirement System

  • Flexible shifts Monday-Friday with on-call availability

 

Keys to success include working effectively with a team, following safety protocol, being respectful to others, and having integrity and pride in your work

 

Minimum qualifications include graduation from high school or possession of a high school equivalency diploma; AND four (4) years of full-time or equivalent part-time paid work experience as an Apprentice Lineworker on electric distribution systems; OR one (1) year of full-time or equivalent part-time paid work experience as an Electric Utility Lineworker. (Must possess Qualified Electric Person (QEP)).  This is a competitive NYS Civil Service position that is full time, 40 hours per week and subject to Civil Service rules for eligibility.

Interested applicants should apply by Friday 3/16/2022 by submitting an application to the Yates County Personnel Office at 417 Liberty St, Penn Yan, NY 14527 or online at https://mycivilservice.yatescounty.org/jobopps.

The Village of Penn Yan is an equal opportunity employer and a drug free workplace.

The Village of Penn Yan Municipal Electric Department is seeking candidates for the full-time position of an experienced Electric Lineworker.

 

Primary Responsibilities

 

-Engaged in any type of construction, operation or maintenance on distribution lines and associated equipment.

-Apply safety rules and regulations as they apply to line substation and service work.

-Installs, inspect and repair poles, conductor, transformers, meters, hardware and other equipment on or near energized and de-energized lines in keeping with the appropriate specifications.

-Respond to outages to investigate, locate, analyze, correct faults and restore service on distribution equipment.

-Perform line switching, including switching at a transformer or automatic air-switch station.

-Reviews plans and specifications.

-Inform supervisors of equipment and materials required to complete jobs.

-Trains other crew members in construction of electrical distribution systems.

-Performs basic maintenance on equipment.

-Other responsibilities as assigned.

 

Benefits:

 

Compensation rate is $39.87 to $43.97 hourly rate, dependent on years of experience, Penn Yan also offers a competitive benefits package. (Details shown below)

 

Competitive insurance that includes health and dental

 

  • Vacation Time: After 1 year of continuous employment earn 2 weeks (80 hours) paid vacation - Graduated scale thereafter based on longevity

  • Earn 8 hours of sick time each month to accumulate to 240 days that may be used for a retirement cash benefit or health insurance premiums

  • Receive 40 hours personal time June 1st of each year. Unused personal hours will rollover to sick hours annually on June 1st.

  • Step Pay Scale: Advance 1 Step upon each anniversary of hire date current pay increases for Steps:1-4, 9, 13, 18, 22,25,27

  • New York State Disability Insurance

  • 12.5 paid holidays on top of time earned

  • NYS Employees Retirement System

  • Flexible shifts Monday-Friday with on-call availability

 

Keys to success include working effectively with a team, following safety protocol, being respectful to others, and having integrity and pride in your work.

 

Minimum qualifications include graduation from high school or possession of a high school equivalency diploma; AND four (4) years of full-time or equivalent part-time paid work experience as an Apprentice Lineworker on electric distribution systems; OR one (1) year of full-time or equivalent part-time paid work experience as an Electric Utility Lineworker. (Must possess Qualified Electric Person (QEP)).  This is a competitive NYS Civil Service position that is full time, 40 hours per week and subject to Civil Service rules for eligibility.

 

Interested applicants should apply by Friday 2/21/2022 by submitting an application to the Yates County Personnel Office at 417 Liberty St, Penn Yan, NY 14527 or online at https://mycivilservice.yatescounty.org/jobopps.

The Village of Penn Yan is an equal opportunity employer and a drug free workplace.

The Village of Penn Yan has an opening for one (1) Deputy Line Crew Chief.  This is a competitive NYS Civil Service position that is full time, 40 hours per week and subject to Civil Service rules for eligibility.

Primary Responsibilities

 

-Deputy Line Crew Chief will supervise the crew in the absence of the Crew Chief, assuming full

responsibility for the safe and efficient performance of their assigned work

-Assists in design, planning and coordination of line projects

-Engaged in any type of construction, operation or maintenance on distribution lines and associated equipment.

-Apply safety rules and regulations as they apply to line substation and service work.

-Installs, inspect and repair poles, conductor, transformers, meters, hardware and other equipment on or near energized and de-energized lines in keeping with the appropriate specifications.

-Respond to outages to investigate, locate, analyze, correct faults and restore service on distribution equipment.

-Perform line switching, including switching at a transformer or automatic air-switch station.

-Reviews plans and specifications.

-Inform supervisors of equipment and materials required to complete jobs.

-Trains other crew members in construction of electrical distribution systems.

-Performs basic maintenance on equipment.

-Other responsibilities as assigned.

 

Benefits:

Compensation rate is $44.63 to $49.59 hourly rate, dependent on years of experience, Penn Yan also offers a competitive benefits package. (Details shown below)

Competitive insurance that includes health and dental

  • Vacation Time: After 1 year of continuous employment earn 2 weeks (80 hours) paid vacation - Graduated scale thereafter based on longevity

  • Earn 8 hours of sick time each month to accumulate to 240 days that may be used for a retirement cash benefit or health insurance premiums

  • Receive 40 hours personal time June 1st of each year. Unused personal hours will rollover to sick hours annually on June 1st.

  • Step Pay Scale: Advance 1 Step upon each anniversary of hire date current pay increases for Steps:1-4, 9, 13, 18, 22,25,27

  • New York State Disability Insurance

  • 12.5 paid holidays on top of time earned

  • NYS Employees Retirement System

  • Flexible shifts Monday-Friday with on-call availability

 

Keys to success include working effectively with a team, following safety protocol, being respectful to others, and having integrity and pride in your work

 

Minimum qualifications

a) Graduation from a regionally accredited NYS college or university with an Associate’s degree or higher in Engineering Science, Engineering Technology, Construction Technology or closely related field; AND three (3) years of experience in construction, installation, maintenance and/or operation of an electrical utility distribution system as a Lineworker, one (1) year of which involved supervision; OR

b) Graduation from high school or possession of a high school equivalency diploma; AND five (5) years of the experience as described in (a), one (1) year of which involved supervision; OR

c) An equivalent combination of education and experience as defined by the limits of (a) and (b) above.

Interested applicants should apply by Friday 6/3/2022 by submitting an application to the Yates County Personnel Office at 417 Liberty St, Penn Yan, NY 14527 or online at https://mycivilservice.yatescounty.org/jobopps.

The Village of Penn Yan is an equal opportunity employer and a drug free workplace.