Rockland County Embarks on Major Energy Infrastructure Upgrade with O&R’s Investment Plan

In a significant move to bolster energy infrastructure, Rockland County is set to benefit from an extensive investment plan announced by Orange and Rockland Utilities (O&R). This initiative, aligning with New York State’s clean energy goals, focuses on enhancing both electric and gas systems across the county.

The plan includes a series of transformative projects within Rockland County. A major highlight is the construction of a new substation in Clarkstown, aiming to improve service reliability and resilience. Upgrades are also planned for the Monsey and Corporate Drive substations in Orangetown. In a significant infrastructural enhancement, O&R intends to underground overhead power lines at 11 strategic locations, including Nanuet, Spring Valley, West Haverstraw, and West Nyack, to bolster reliability and combat the effects of severe weather. Additionally, the replacement of the CSX West Shore transmission structures in Congers is part of this comprehensive upgrade.

To fund these electric system upgrades, O&R is seeking an additional $18.1 million in revenue, leading to an anticipated average increase of 3.7 percent in electric bills for customers, with variations based on customer class.

The investment plan also addresses the gas system with a focus on safety and reliability. Key projects include replacing leak-prone pipes and installing 30,000 natural gas detectors throughout the service area. For these enhancements, O&R proposes an additional $14.4 million, which will result in a 6.3 percent increase in gas bills, again varying by customer class.

A significant portion of the plan is dedicated to advancing energy storage and solar projects. This includes the expansion of the Pomona battery storage project and the installation of battery storage systems at various substations. These efforts aim to support grid operations and address the growth in electric vehicles. Furthermore, O&R’s ‘Solar Benefits for All’ program is set to contribute net revenue to the company’s Energy Assistance Program, directly supporting disadvantaged communities.

The investment plan also places a strong emphasis on projects that benefit disadvantaged communities. One such initiative is the Burns Substation Upgrade in Nanuet, which is designed to increase capacity and facilitate electrification.

In addition to infrastructure upgrades, O&R is investing in customer service improvements, focusing on advanced billing and service systems to enhance customer experiences. The company is committed to keeping bills affordable and advancing programs to protect its most vulnerable customers, including monthly discounts for low-income customers and energy efficiency programs for disadvantaged communities.

The economic impact of O&R’s investments in Rockland County is notable. In 2022 alone, the company’s activities generated a total economic output of $1.5 billion in New York State, creating approximately 2,880 jobs and contributing nearly $160 million in state and local taxes.

This investment plan by Orange and Rockland Utilities marks a significant step in modernizing Rockland County’s energy infrastructure. It underscores the company’s commitment to enhancing service reliability, promoting clean energy, and supporting the local economy, paving the way for a more sustainable and resilient energy future.

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