About The Energy Smart Community

What is it?

The Energy Smart Community (ESC) pilot project was created by New York State Electric and Gas (NYSEG) to study the potential of Smart Meters and other grid upgrades ability to increase energy efficiency in our community. Homes in the Energy Smart Community received “smart” gas and electricity meters in 2018 that remotely send hourly gas and electricity usage to NYSEG. 

Why Upgrade?

State Goals...The Energy Smart Community project is in response to New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision, a comprehensive energy strategy that mandates 50% of New York’s energy be generated by renewable sources by 2030. The ESC also aligns with Tompkins County's Energy Roadmap which aims to reach a minimum 80 percent greenhouse gas reduction from 2008 levels by 2050, and reduce reliance on fossil fuels across all sectors. Tompkins County Planning Department explains more about the roadmap in this presentation

For the electrical grid...In order to meet these important goals, NYSEG and utility companies across the state are having to make major changes in the way they do business. Smart meters allow utilities to much more precisely forecast how much electricity the grid is using at any time which can allow them to more efficiently operate their system, a necessary step towards both the state and county energy reduction goals.

For customers...This detailed gas and electricity usage information also allows customers to go online and see how much energy they use on any hour of any day, giving personalized information that can be used to make homes and businesses more energy efficient and potentially save you money. (For more information on this, see our page  Navigating Energy Manager).

Connecting to renewables... Smart meters can also help make the electrical grid better able to host more renewable energy sources like wind and solar. A more efficient grid will both save everyone money and reduce our use of fossil fuels.

Other upgrades being implemented as part of the Energy Smart Community include...

  • Energy Manager- an online portal which allows customers to access to personal energy data,
  • NYSEG Smart Solutions- an online marketplace for energy efficiency products and services, and
  • the Smart Usage Plan- a price incentive to encourage customers to shift their electricity use to off-peak times.

Project Details...

The project began with installing 12,400 electric smart meters, automating substation and circuits through a telecommunication system, and deploying an advanced grid management system. Click here to see if you are part of the grid upgrade area.

The pilot area is 84 percent residential, 14 percent, commercial, 2 percent municipal, and less than 1 percent industrial. The area encompasses a cross-section of urban, suburban, and rural areas which NYSEG says is important in understanding overall energy use. This cross-section of Tompkins County is the first area to receive NYSEG’s modernized grid upgrades which they hope to scale to the rest of their service territories in the next few years.

Why is Cooperative Extension involved in this project?

Because energy efficiency is an important goal of the Energy Smart Community, and it aligns with Tompkins County’s Energy Roadmap, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County is facilitating community engagement to help maximize the potential of the ESC to help further our County goals.

Links to more information

Last updated December 14, 2018