YONKERS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Sky-high electric bills are all too common in New York, but now Con Edison says they’re looking to change that.

The utility company has a plan that’s similar to Governor Cuomo’s congestion pricing.

Imagine if those steep electric bills stopped climbing if people simply made some adjustments to their habits.

“The goal is to help customers lower their bills by shifting their energy usage to off peak periods and spreading it out during the peak periods,” Con Ed’s Rebecca Roberts said.

In a twist on the newly adopted congestion pricing plan, Con Ed’s variable rate pricing incentivizes New Yorkers to try a different lifestyle.

“Smart meters allow us to look at the difference in your energy use between peak and off-peak periods, which gives you the ability as the customer to better control your bill and your usage,” Roberts said.

Con Ed is replacing thousands of customers’ energy meters with the smart meters which calculate when home owners are using their energy. Since it costs around two and a half times more to run appliances during peak hours, that data will help people prioritize.

“On a hot summer day, you can still run that air conditioner during those peak hours,” Roberts said. “If you could use your dishwasher during off-peak hours, that would really help you save.”

15,000 smart meters have already been installed on Staten Island and Westchester County, where Con Ed is testing the program. In Yonkers, homeowner Robert Gomez was approached by Con Ed last week and asked if he wanted to join the pilot program. He agreed, and received one of the smart meters which he says may not be enough to lead him to make any changes to his consumption habits.

“To me, I use electricity whenever I have to and I’m really not concerned with whether I used it in the morning, night, or evening,” he said.

Others say they see the value in the smart meters.

The utility company says by lightening the load at peak periods, they can reduce their infrastructure costs and pass that savings along to their customers.


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