PSEG Long Island on Monday activated a program designed to curtail overall energy use by remotely adjusting the thermostats of 30,000 participating customers.
High heat and humidity tend to push system use toward its peak, though PSEG stressed it has ample power to meet load requirements Monday -- and that the system didn't hit a peak. But enacting the program allows the company to save future energy costs by keeping peak-load requirements lower for next year.
"We anticipated around 30 megawatts of savings," spokesman Jeff Weir said, which could translate to about $2 million in savings next year when PSEG plans 2016 capacity needs.
LIPA created the program a decade ago, spending about $21 million to install special thermostats that allow central air-conditioning units to be remotely controlled.
The Thermostat Energy Conservation Program allows PSEG to on- and off-cycle central air-conditioning systems for 30 minutes between the hours of 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Homes and small businesses are prime participants in the program.
The system was last activated on Sept. 2, and allowed the company to save $1.1 million in capacity costs.
Before PSEG took over, critics had complained that LIPA rarely used the program.
"Implementing the voluntary program today will potentially reduce load requirements by lowering the peak demand on one of the hottest days," Michael Voltz, director of energy efficiency and renewable energy for PSEG, said in a statement Monday. "This will help generate savings for customers in the future."
Separately on Monday, PSEG reported more than 3,600 customers in Jericho and Hicksville lost power for several hours after problems at a substation in Jericho. Substations convert higher-voltage energy from power plants into lower voltages used in homes and businesses.
PSEG's Weir said the company was continuing to investigate the cause of the substation problem, but he said the company does not believe it was heat-related. Power was restored by Monday afternoon.
The outage took out 1,670 customers in Hicksville, including the Broadway Mall, while another 1,992 were out in Jericho, the company reported on its outage map.