Lower Your Monthly Energy Bills
Businesses often say, “I would like to open or expand my business here, but it is so expensive. Operating costs are too high. Monthly expenses pile up. Bills need to be paid. How can New York City help me offset some of these costs?”
New York City can help. One of the most successful and popular incentives is the Energy Cost Savings Program (ECSP). Its impact is direct and results in real savings for businesses. ECSP can reduce regulated energy costs up to 45% and regulated natural gas costs up to 35%. The benefits last for up to 12 years (8 years followed by a 4 year phase-out period).
Businesses are eligible for ECSP by either relocating or investing to upgrade their buildings. There are various avenues to access the program:
- Moving from outside New York City into the City
- Moving out of the targeted pressure areas of Long Island City (Queens) and Fulton Ferry (Brooklyn)
- Moving from Manhattan south of 96th Street to other areas of the City
- Renovating or constructing commercial office or industrial property and seeking real property tax benefits through NYC’s Department of Finance’s Industrial and Commercial Abatement Program (ICAP), or assistance through the City’s Industrial Development Agency (NYCIDA)
- Leasing and renovating space in property owned by the City or State of New York
It’s a good rule of thumb to apply to ECSP early in the process before any building permits are issued or new leases signed. Specifically, if a business upgrades its space in excess of 30% of the property’s assessed value, it could enjoy both breaks on real property taxes and lower energy costs. For example, a building assessed at $500,000 would need to make an investment exceeding $15,000. Specific filing deadlines and benefits schedules apply. In most cases applicants file prior to the issuance of a building permit, or prior to signing a lease or purchasing a new site.
Unique to the ECSP is the creation of Special Eligible Premises or “SEPs.” These are buildings, which have previously undergone capital improvements, and approved by ECSP as eligible to provide lower energy costs to qualified commercial and industrial tenants. It has become a great attraction tool to keep especially small businesses in the City. To qualify a business must decide to remain or move to NYC and lease space within a SEP.
ECSP also provides one of deepest “green” benefits -by encouraging businesses that use natural gas to make their own electricity through installing a “clean” distributed generation (cogeneration) system. ECSP has an emissions test to ensure only the most efficient and sustainable “cogen” units are installed within the boroughs. Compared to the standard ECSP rebate, an additional benefit of 4.44 cents / kilowatt hour is available to businesses which install a “clean” cogeneration system. When a business can convert excess unused energy to usable electricity it helps relieve the City’s electric grid and can further lower electric costs for the business.
ECSP has been used by an array of businesses to keep costs down including one of the nations’ largest bakers and suppliers of Asian specialty food products. This firm produces such items as Chinese noodles, fortune cookies and eggrolls – right in the heart of Brooklyn. We provided energy benefits for two of its locations valued over $250,000 a year. In addition to ECSP, the firm also qualified for property tax abatements and a training grant to teach existing staff new skills needed to grow capacity.
A smaller firm that manufactures customized tools and precision instruments needed to move out of very cramped quarters adjacent to a residential neighborhood in Brooklyn – the best site for a machine shop. ECSP, when combined with additional State and City programs, encouraged the firm to move within the City and invest in a state of the artfacility–saving the business close to $50,000 in energy costs each year.
NYC Business Solutions and the ECSP team work closely with the New York State’s Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), ConEd’s Green Team and National Grid to promote additional efficiency programs to businesses finding new ways to lower costs and use less energy.
NYSERDA’s Commercial/Industrial programs provide energy efficiency services for existing buildings, new construction and industrial facilities.
NYSERDA’s programs include:
- FlexTech Program: FlexTech provides cost-sharing up to $1M on technical studies to identify and encourage cost-effective energy efficiency measures
- Energy Audit Program: Provides free energy audits to small businesses and not-for-profits with an average electric demand of 100 kW or less to help them make implement energy-efficiency strategies
- New Construction Program: Provides assistance to incorporate energy-efficiency measures into the design, construction, and operation of new and renovated buildings
- Existing Facilities Program: Offers incentives for a variety of energy projects including Pre-Qualified Measures and Performance-Based Incentives
- NYSERDA AFV Program: Provides financial assistance and technical information to encourage businesses to purchase alternative-fuel vehicles
In addition to NYSERDA, the local utility firms offer additional incentives to promote energy savings. National Grid has a variety of programs including the New Construction Program, which offers financial incentives to defray costs of replacing old equipment or renovating space for large commercial customers. The equally popular Small Business Program helps businesses lower costs and improves energy efficiency through services such as lighting and heating. ConEd has its own newly rebranded Green Team offering its customers several programs such as the Commercial & Industrial Energy Efficiency Program, which gives cash rebates for installing energy efficient electric and gas equipment. There are free energy surveys, free thermostats, and up to 70% rebates for lighting, heating and cooling upgrades.
If a business is willing to commit to growing in New York City by either relocating within the City or modernizing its space, the City and State can provide programs to lower your monthly energy cost and reduce energy usage - both for the short term and long term. NYC Business Solutions has a team dedicated to helping you access, apply and determine eligibility for ECSP. We work closely with local utility companies like ConEd and National Grid to identify candidates for the program as well as to ensure smooth and consistent delivery of ECSP rebate over the 12 year life of the benefit. We can help your business access not only ECSP but the full portfolio of energy incentives designed to lower costs. Moreover, you can learn how the various programs work best together - to help maximize savings.
To learn more about these and other incentives programs call 311, or go to the Incentives Estimator on NYC Business Express.
As Assistant Commissioner at the NYC Department of Small Business Services, Don Giampietro oversees such programs as the Energy Cost Savings Program (ECSP), Lower Manhattan Energy Program (LMEP), Printers Relocation Grant Program, and Industrial Relocation Grant Program. Don has over 15 years of experience working to help commercial and industrial firms relocate and expand within New York City.
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