By: WBG, LLP Published: June 2011

Power NY Act of 2011

On June 22, 2011, the New York State legislature passed the Power NY Act of 2011 ("Act") and it was signed by Governor Cuomo on August 4, 2011. This Act is meant to further the Green Jobs, Green New York Act that was passed in 2009. The Act amends the Public Service Law, the Public Authorities Law, the Real Property Law, the State Finance Law, and the Environmental Conservation Law to (1) establish a procedure for administering the existing revolving loan fund, (2) create an on-bill recovery program, (3) enact a simplified procedure for the siting of new major electric generating facilities and for increasing the capacity of existing electric generating facilities, and (4) mandate a study with respect to increasing energy generation from photovoltaic devices (i.e. solar energy generation).

The Green Jobs, Green New York revolving loan fund provides loans to finance the cost of approved qualified energy efficiency services for residential structures, multi-family structures, and non-residential structures. With a few exceptions, the loans are capped at $13,000 per applicant for residential structures and $26,000.00 per applicant for non-residential structures.

The on-bill recovery program is a billing and collection service that will be operated by large electric and gas companies as a way to recover the re-payment of its customers' revolving loans. Under this program, a charge will be collected on the customer's monthly utility bill. The electric corporation will collect such charges unless the qualified energy efficiency services at that customer's premises result in more projected energy savings on the customer's gas bill than the electric bill. In that case, the charge will be collected by the gas company. The program is set up such that the monthly bill payments will be less than the energy cost savings associated with the efficiency upgrades.

With on-bill recovery, the charge stays with the meter upon transfers of the property so that the efficiency measures are paid over the useful life of the equipment and customers can pay for the cost of the loan through reductions in energy bills. Prior to accepting a purchase offer, a seller of real property that is subject to an on-bill recovery charge has to provide the prospective buyer with a notice stating (1) that the property is subject to an on-bill recovery charge, (2) the total amount of the original charge, (3) the payment schedule, (4) the approximate remaining balance, (5) a description of the energy efficiency services performed, including improvements to the property, and (6) an explanation of the benefit of the qualified energy efficiency services.

The law also enacts a simplified procedure for the siting of new, major electric generating facilities and for increasing the capacity of existing electric generating facilities pursuant to the new certification process outlined in the new article 10 of the Public Service Law. Lastly, the Act calls for a study with respect to increasing energy generation from photovoltaic devices (i.e. solar energy generation) including an analysis of the net economic and job creation benefits of achieving increased development and usage of photovoltaic devices.

These changes are expected to develop the state's clean energy economic sector including the creation of jobs for construction professionals in the energy retrofit industry business and new high technology jobs related to increasing energy from photovoltaic devices. The Act is also expected to spur the construction of new electric generation including commercial wind facilities.

If you would like more information on this issue or any other construction issue, please contact Welby, Brady & Greenblatt, LLP at (914) 428-2100. 

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