Fredonia presented option to reduce electricity use for cash

By GREG FOX

OBSERVER Staff Writer

Fredonia has been given the option to help reduce stress on the power grid at various instances throughout the year by reducing its electricity consumption in exchange for monetary compensation.

Gina Mustica, senior demand response advisor for Energy Curtailment Specialists Inc., was on hand during a recent Fredonia Village Board meeting to discuss a program that would ask the village’s wastewater treatment plant to cut back on its energy usage in exchange for cash incentives.

“We are contracted through the New York Power Grid … to go out and meet with medium- to large-size energy users across all industries, including villages and townships … to ascertain what is your ability in a free program called Demand Response,” Mustica said. “The overall intention … is that when there is any instability to the power grid based upon the demand for electricity far exceeding the supply … there tends to be, at any given time, rolling blackouts in the area.”

Mustica said the Demand Response Program is intended to prevent these blackouts. Participants are asked to reduce their consumption of electricity by a pre-calculated amount a day ahead of an instance when a blackout is possible.

“Knowing (the WWTP) has a generator backup, it would be easier for you to flip the switch and go onto generator backup, help the power grid, it’s a green initiative for the village, and in the meantime, you’re bringing in funding to the village,” Mustica said. “We’re talking $15,000 to $20,000 per year for doing your part in helping to stabilize the power grid.”

If the village enrolls in the five-year program, ECS will plant 10 trees in a national forest in the name of the village, as part of the green initiative. Mustica said the Fredonia Central School District and the town of Westfield’s WWTP are already enrolled.

There are two seasons to the program: summer (May 1 to Oct. 31) and winter (Nov. 1 to April 30). Mustica said the village would be called on to reduce their electric consumption an average of two times during the summer and one time during the winter, which would serve as an hour-long test to see if the village could conserve power during the winter if an emergency situation to the grid ever occurred during that time. There are no penalties incurred if the village cannot reduce when called upon.

“We’ve talked about this for a number of years,” WWTP Chief Operator Betsy Sly said. “I don’t see a downside to this program. I think we could go with 600 kilowatts and basically all we do is change our schedule around … The whole plant could run on the generators. The treatment of the sewage would not be affected at all.”

The board did not take any action on the program during the meeting, but Mayor Stephen Keefe noted it would be wise to accept the proposal before Nov. 1, when the winter season begins.

Also during the meeting, the board accepted the resignation of part-time Fredonia Police Officer Shane Carlson. Carlson is transferring to a full-time position at the Dunkirk City Police Department.

The board also approved Jesse White as a new seasonal laborer for the Department of Public Works at an hourly wage of $7.50 with no other benefits. Trustee Marc Ruckman voted against the measure.

A $14,250 proposal from the accounting firm Johnson, Mackowiak & Associates LLP for auditing services for the village court was also accepted by the board. The services will be provided for a three-year period up through the 2014/2015 fiscal year (including the 2012/2013 fiscal year). Trustee Joseph Cerrie abstained from the measure.

The next meeting, which is a workshop, is scheduled for today at 6:30 p.m. in the village hall.

Comments may be sent to gfox@observertoday.com