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August 16, 2001

Brookhaven Lab Helps LIPA Keep the Lights On 

UPTON, NY -- While last week's heat wave was stretching the Long Island Power Authority's (LIPA) distribution system to its limit, Brookhaven Lab employees helped keep the juice flowing by significantly reducing electrical usage through an innovative LIPA program.

As a participant in LIPA's Peak Load Reduction Curtailment Program, Brookhaven Lab has agreed to reduce electrical demand during "critical days" through the summer, when LIPA expects customer demand to meet or exceed the company's available supply. In return, Brookhaven receives a rebate of $6,430 for each megawatt (MW) reduced for each critical day.

Brookhaven Lab's participation is significant to LIPA. The Lab's portion represents more than 12 percent of the 95 MW load-curtailment program total, and the Lab is the single largest program contributor. Brookhaven's estimated rebate from the five critical days LIPA has called so far this summer is approximately $363,000.

"This is a winning situation for LIPA, Brookhaven Lab, and Long Island residents," said Tom Sheridan, Brookhaven's Deputy Director for Operations. "LIPA is able to keep the power flowing, and we're able to use the rebate dollars for future research and operations."

Although Brookhaven purchases its electricity from the New York Power Authority, it is LIPA that actually delivers it on its electric distribution system. On days when temperatures flirt with triple digits, this excess load can seriously strain the system.

Last week, LIPA declared that Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday were "critical days," and on Wednesday the electrical load on the LIPA system actually came to within 80 MW of the available capacity, leaving a reserve of less than 2 percent. In response, Lab employees reduced electrical usage wherever possible for the four-hour period between 2 and 6 p.m., when the LIPA system sees the heaviest demand, by curtailing experiments and turning off unnecessary lights, computers, and copying machines. As a result, the Lab, along with other LIPA Peak Load Reduction Program participants, helped the utility avoid serious problems.

All incentives received as part of this program will be redistributed to those Laboratory departments and divisions that reduce their electrical demand during the critical days. The amount of reduction each department achieves is determined through Brookhaven's electric meters.

The U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies. Brookhaven also builds and operates major facilities available to university, industrial, and government scientists. The Laboratory is operated by Brookhaven Science Associates, a partnership led by Stony Brook University and Battelle, a nonprofit applied science and technology organization.