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New York Utilities See Increased Energy Consumption

ROCHESTER, NY (WXXI) - The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way the state’s power grid is being used.

Carl Taylor is President and CEO for New York State Electric and Gas and Rochester Gas and Electric. Like many people, he is getting used to new patterns of activity in his own household.

He says his college-aged son is studying from home now, and in general a lot of people are seeing energy consumption go up because they are either home all day or working from home.

But Taylor says it’s a different story on the commercial side, with a lot of businesses around the state forced to close if they are considered non-essential.

“So you’ve got this uptick in residential, but you’ve got this reduced energy consumption at the commercial side of the business and it varies across the state. Upstate New York, you’re seeing varying degrees of that, but when you get down toward downstate, where there’s much more commercial load, you’re even seeing a more significant amount of reduction,” Taylor says.

Utilities around the state have also adopted policies that have suspended the service-shutoffs for non-payment.

In any case, Taylor says customers of NYSEG and RG&E should contact the utility if they are having trouble with making payments.

"Give us a call, we have programs that exist today to help customers, whether it’s deferring payments, or it’s somehow making sure that we put them on some type of payment plan that they can afford, or what have you. So we encourage customers, if you’re having trouble paying your bill, give us a call, our call centers are open,” Taylor says.

Taylor also announced on Thursday that the two utilities are donating $75,000 to Foodlink to support the growing need for that organization’s services and the utilities are donating $275,000 to food banks across the state.

“We’ve been here a long time. We’ve been in Rochester for over 170 years in the community and we think it’s really important that we step up in these times of need and help assist the public that we’re servicing,” he says.