Mayor Nutter, Philadelphia Water Department Celebrate New Biogas Cogeneration Facility

November 22, 2013– Mayor Michael A. Nutter, EPA Region III Administrator Shawn M. Garvin, Philadelphia Water Department Commissioner Howard Neukrug, Ameresco, Inc., Bank of America and other federal, state and local officials cut the ribbon and toured the new Biogas Cogeneration Facility at the Northeast Water Pollution Control Plant.

“This new facility is another step in furthering the City’s sustainability goals in our Greenworks plan,” said Mayor Nutter. “We are becoming more energy efficient and reducing our use of non-renewable energy sources. We will continue to find innovative ways to use green power because it’s beneficial for the environment and our budget.”

The Biogas Cogeneration Project was designed to generate 5.6 MW of power for on-site use. As a natural byproduct of sewage treatment, biogas can be refined and utilized as fuel for generators and equipment. Carbon emissions are expected to be reduced by nearly 22,000 tons per year, which equates to the removal of 4,833 cars off the road or the planting of 5,390 acres of pine forest. On an annual basis, the project will produce about 85% of all the electrical energy used for plant operations.

“This project is an example of PWD’s commitment to develop waste recovery programs at all of our facilities as part of our pledge to be a sustainable and cost-conscious utility,” said Water Commissioner Neukrug. “Recovering the hidden fuel in our wastewater treatment processes helps to diversify our energy portfolio, while improving the environment through innovative, green technology. The Northeast Biogas Cogeneration Facility demonstrates PWD’s national leadership in transforming the traditional wastewater plant into the resource recovery facility of the future.”

Ameresco, Inc., which engineered, constructed and will oversee the facility, has developed an Economic Opportunity Plan that will bring green jobs to the city. The public-private partnership between the City of Philadelphia and Ameresco, Inc. qualified the project to obtain a grant through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Energy Services business unit of Bank of America Merrill Lynch agreed to provide the financing for the project.

About the Philadelphia Water Department
The Philadelphia Water Department serves the Greater Philadelphia region by providing integrated water, wastewater, and stormwater services. The utility’s primary mission is to plan for, operate, and maintain both the infrastructure and the organization necessary to purvey high quality drinking water, to provide an adequate and reliable water supply for all household, commercial, and community needs, and to sustain and enhance the region’s watersheds and quality of life by managing wastewater and stormwater effectively.

About Ameresco, Inc.
Founded in 2000, Ameresco, Inc. (NYSE:AMRC) is a leading independent provider of comprehensive services, energy efficiency, infrastructure upgrades, and renewable energy solutions for facilities throughout North America. Ameresco’s services include upgrades to a facility’s energy infrastructure and the development, construction and operation of renewable energy plants. Ameresco has successfully completed energy saving, environmentally responsible projects with federal, state and local governments, healthcare and educational institutions, housing authorities, and commercial and industrial customers. With its corporate headquarters in Framingham, MA, Ameresco provides local expertise through its 59 offices in 34 states and five Canadian provinces. Ameresco has more than 850 employees. For more information, visit http://www.ameresco.com

Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities Releases 5-Year Accomplishment Report

Report highlights improved infrastructure, sustainability practices, increased safety and grant money won.

Philadelphia, October 22, 2013 – The Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities (MOTU) released a report on the progress and accomplishments of the office during the past five years. The office, led by Deputy Mayor Rina Cutler, is charged with building a shared vision and coordinating decision-making among the energy and utility sectors as well as transportation and infrastructure sectors in order to save money and improve conditions throughout the City. Mayor Michael A. Nutter established MOTU after he assumed office in 2008.

“Because of this team’s great work during the past five years, the City has benefited from more than $90 million in grant funds to support our infrastructure. Philadelphians now have a better integrated transportation system that boasts new bridges, improved traffic signals and an expanded bike lane network,” said Mayor Nutter. “The City is a national model for green infrastructure. Philadelphia International Airport is embarking on a multi-billion expansion, and our strategic energy procurement program means that more of tax dollars are invested in City programs instead of utility bills.”

Among the highlights in the report are:
•Since 2008, five new airlines have announced service at Philadelphia International Airport and six new non-stop destinations have been added.
•In 2011, the Philadelphia Water Department and the Energy Office unveiled a 250-kilowatt, 1,000 panel solar system at the South East Water Pollution Control Plant, which provides reliable power directly to the facility.
•Traffic lights at approximately 2,400 intersections were retimed and more than 400 pedestrian countdown signals were installed since 2008. Crashes involving pedestrians are down 10 percent between 2008 and 2012.
•MOTU has helped secure more than $45 million in federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants for Philadelphia.

Deputy Mayor Rina Cutler noted, “Our office has made it safer to drive, bike and walk in Philadelphia. We have helped rewrite the guidelines for building city streets and we have forged lasting partnerships between a multitude of transportation agencies. This work can only be done because our office is set up to reach out across departments, across agendas and across constituencies. It is this coordinated vision which makes sure that the next generation of streets can manage stormwater and are safe whether you are a bicyclist, a driver or a pedestrian. It is this coordinated vision which helps invest more than $30 million dollars in traffic signals and buses to speed up transit service. And it is this coordinated vision which is helping build the airport of the future, one that will be a powerful engine of economic development.”

For five years, MOTU has improved transportation options so that Philadelphians can get wherever they are going, whether by foot, bike, car or transit. The office ensures that Philadelphia’s water, electricity and gas systems are of the highest caliber and that the City manages its energy use cost effectively. Working with partners from across government and the private and non-profit sectors, MOTU makes sure that the investments and plans that affect the city’s infrastructure are done with a shared vision of increased mobility and sustainability.

Mayor Nutter said, “The Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities is a professional, pragmatic and innovative part of City government. I could not be prouder of what the office has accomplished in the past five years and hope that MOTU has helped to pave the way for a more efficient and effective City government.

City of Philadelphia Designated A Green Power Community By EPA, Challenges Washington D.C. Government

Philadelphia, June 20, 2012 – The City of Philadelphia has been designated a Green Power Community by the Environmental Protection Agency, demonstrating the City’s tremendous success in calling on residents, businesses, and institutions to partner with the City in leading the way in renewable energy use.  As the fifth largest city in theU.S.,Philadelphia is the largest municipality to receive the Green Power Communities designation, which requires that at least 3% of the city’s energy use be generated from renewable resources such as solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, and low-impact hydropower.

 

“When I came into office, I pledged to makePhiladelphiathe greenest city inAmerica, and as the largest city to be designated a Green Power Community, we are well on our way,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “Choosing electricity from renewable resources like solar panels and wind turbines gives us the power we need to grow, but also to support job creation, to cut carbon emissions, and to bring additional clean, renewable resources online inAmerica. Using green power is a smart choice for our environment and for our economy.”

 

EPA Regional Administrator Shawn Garvin said, “As EPA’s largest Green Power Community, Philadelphia is among only a handful of local governments that have met or exceeded their pledges to our nation’s clean energy future by purchasing green, renewable power. I commend Mayor Michael Nutter for his continuous pursuit of numerous, practical ways to makePhiladelphiaa model green city.”

 

Philadelphians purchase nearly 600 million kWh of renewable energy each year.  This is equivalent to planting nearly 10.5 million tree seedlings grown for 10 years or taking 80,000 passenger cars off the road.  This renewable energy usage also represents more than 4 percent of the electricity purchased by all users inPhiladelphia.

 

WashingtonD.C.is currently the largest municipal buyer of green power. Mayor Nutter announced a challenge toWashington’s status. “I challenge Mayor Gray andWashingtonD.C.becausePhiladelphiais going to become the #1 city for in the purchase of green power,” said Mayor Nutter.

 

“I welcome this challenge from Mayor Nutter, and congratulate the City ofBrotherly Loveon its commitment to green power.  TheDistrict of Columbiaentered the Green Power Communities program last year at #1 and I’m seizing this opportunity to renew my challenge to our residents, businesses and institutions to stay on top.  I’m all for healthy competition, especially when it involves investing in clean, renewable power—so I say, ‘bring it on!” said Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray.

 

In 2006,Philadelphiajoined EPA’s Green Power Partnership, a launching pad for becoming a Green Power Community.  As part ofPhiladelphia’s Greenworks plan, the City pledges that by 2015, twenty percent of the electricity used inPhiladelphiawill come from alternative energy sources.  The city’s municipal operations have already met this goal, using more than 127 million kilowatt-hours of green power, including generating solar electricity onsite at the city-owned Southeast Water Pollution Control facility.

 

“The Office of Transportation and Utilities manages the procurement of electricity for the City, and we are committed to purchasing green power,” said Rina Cutler, Deputy Mayor for Transportation and Utilities. “As a City government we continue to focus on becoming more energy efficient while also diversifying our energy supply to include more renewable sources of energy. Clearly Philadelphia residents and businesses are doing the same, and we’re grateful to be recognized today by the EPA for our efforts.”

 

Philadelphiaorganizations and businesses, including members of the Philadelphia Green Power Community Collaborative, are actively committed to helpingPhiladelphiamaintain its standing as a leading Green Power Community and increase its use of renewable energy.  Members of the Philadelphia Green Power Community include: the City of Philadelphia, PennFuture, the Clean Air Council, the University City Neighborhood Association, Clean Currents, Community Energy, the Energy Cooperative, EverPower, Renewable Choice, Sterling Planet, Washington Gas Energy Services, and the EPA.

 

More information on EPA’s Green Power Communities:www.epa.gov/greenpower/communities

More information on EPA’s Green Power Partnership Program:www.epa.gov/greenpower

Philadelphia’s Green Power Community Collaborative:www.PhiladelphiaGreenPower.com

Green power providers in Pennsylvania: www.papowerswitch.com

 

CITY OF PHILADELPHIA ANNOUNCES SALE OF CITY REVENUE BONDS FOR BUILDING ENERGY CONSERVATION PROJECT

Philadelphia, June 6, 2012 – On May 31, 2012, the City of Philadelphia, through the Philadelphia Municipal Authority, completed the sale of its City Agreement Revenue Bonds, Series 2012A and Series 2012B (Federally Taxable Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds) totaling approximately $12.6 million. Proceeds from the bonds will fund implementation of energy efficiency upgrades at Philadelphia’s City Hall, Justice Juanita Kidd Stout Center for Criminal Justice, Municipal Service Building and One Parkway. The project is a major step toward achieving the goal of reducing City government energy consumption by 30% by 2015 as outlined in Greenworks Philadelphia, the City’s comprehensive sustainability plan.

“The City of Philadelphia is committed to a sustainable future, and important projects like this show that the City is leading by example,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “This project reduces our long-term energy consumption, creates new opportunities for businesses, improves City facilities, and saves money which we can use in other areas of need.”

The project uses $6.25 million of the City’s allotment of Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds (QECBs), tax credit bonds that qualify for an interest rate subsidy from the federal government. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act allocated $15 million of QECBs to the City of Philadelphia for funding qualified conservation projects. The 2012 bonds benefited from improving market reception of the City’s credit, and received favorable interest rates, resulting in a true interest cost (net of Federal subsidy) of 2.31% for the 15-year bonds.

The project is being completed under the auspices of the Pennsylvania Guaranteed Energy Savings Act (GESA) program. The act allows municipalities to contract with energy service companies (ESCOs) that guarantee energy efficiency upgrade project savings and commit to pay the difference if actual energy savings fall short of expected savings. The City of Philadelphia contracted with NORESCO, an ESCO, to perform energy audits on targeted buildings and install energy conservation measures (ECMs). The energy savings achieved will more than pay for the energy efficiency improvements, with the energy savings expected to exceed net bond debt service by more than $10.2 million over the life of the transaction.

The City plans to install ECMs, including lighting replacements, control system upgrades, and water conservation improvements, among others. The upgrades will reduce energy usage in the four buildings by approximately 20%, increase human comfort, reduce the immediate capital needs of the facilities, and make the facilities easier to operate. The project’s Economic Opportunity Plan contains aggressive minority, women, and disabled owned business participation rates.

For more information on Greenworks Philadelphia, visit http://www.phila.gov/green

Mayor Nutter Cuts Ribbon On Wastewater Geothermal Heating Project

Philadelphia, April 12, 2012 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter, the Philadelphia Water Department and Philadelphia-based NovaThermal Energy have partnered to be the first site in the United States to deploy a commercial scale geothermal system that provides building heat using domestic wastewater. Mayor Nutter, Novathermal Energy partners, City and U.S. Department of Energy officials and community partners held a ribbon-cutting and tour at the Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant where the project has been implemented.

“I am proud to say that Philadelphia is taking another groundbreaking step in becoming the greenest city in America,” said Mayor Nutter. “Partnering with a Philadelphia-based company and using innovative technology, we have achieved a win-win for energy efficiency and economic development. We will be able to save on costs and energy resources at a City facility while commercializing a technology that can be used in large commercial and industrial buildings throughout the country.”

The project demonstrates the City’s commitment to incubate new businesses, deploy clean energy technology as part of its Greenworks Philadelphia goals, be a leader in resource recovery and explore new markets for revenue.

“This project is another example of PWD’s commitment to diversify our energy portfolio as part of our pledge to be a sustainable and cost-conscious utility,” remarked Water Commissioner Howard Neukrug. “The development of technology that essentially recycles wastewater by extracting its energy for reuse is innovative and demonstrates PWD’s national leadership in resource recovery.”

Commercialization of this technology is designed to significantly reduce energy use in large commercial and industrial buildings throughout Philadelphia and the United States. This project is one example of the Department’s long-term plans to add resource recovery to its facilities environmental protection portfolio.

The City of Philadelphia incurred no costs or outlay of expenses for this project, made possible through funding provided by the City of Philadelphia’s Greenworks Pilot Energy Technology Grant program, which is supported by federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant funds from the U.S. Department of Energy. Ben Franklin Technology Partners of SE Pennsylvania additionally contributed with a grant to support measurement and verification technical assistance.

The project consists of a 1 million BTU/hr unit located in the building’s basement from which heat is directly accessed from the adjacent sewage channel. While the technology can be scaled to a much larger size, this project serves to prove the technology’s energy savings in the U.S. context. At the Southeast Plant, NovaThermal Energy will demonstrate its ability to provide heat at approximately 50% of current cost, realizing $216,000 of savings over 15 years.

About the Philadelphia Water Department
The Philadelphia Water Department serves the Greater Philadelphia region by providing integrated water, wastewater and storm water services. The Department’s mission is to plan for, operate and maintain both the infrastructure and the organization necessary to purvey high quality drinking water, to provide an adequate and reliable water supply for all household, commercial and community needs, and to sustain and enhance the region’s watersheds and quality of life by managing wastewater and stormwater effectively.

About NovaThermal Energy
NovaThermal Energy’s wastewater geothermal energy efficiency technology saves up to 60% in building heating and cooling costs. The system combines a water source heat pump with a patented filtration device to transfer heat energy directly from sewage, using wastewater flows as a heat source. NovaThermal taps into the existing municipal sewer infrastructure, eliminating the land area and cost of geothermal piping or borefields, making the system feasible and affordable for buildings with large energy load requirements.

NovaThermal Energy is a Philadelphia-headquartered company, bringing its proven energy efficiency technology to market in the United States. The company holds an exclusive license for this Chinese technology, and is the US patent holder for improvements to the system.

Commissioner Burns Announces Implementation of Legislation Encouraging Solar Panel Use

Philadelphia, January 19, 2012 – The Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) has implemented two ordinances designed to encourage the use of solar panels systems in Philadelphia. Sponsored by Councilman Jim Kenney, the two ordinances amend the Philadelphia Building Construction and Occupancy Code to greatly reduce the costs of securing both electrical permits and building permits for solar panel systems (also known as photovoltaic systems).

Licenses and Inspections Commissioner Fran Burns stated, “These changes are not only part of the ongoing reform and focus on supporting business development, but also a step towards ensuring a sustainable and competitive future for Philadelphia and its residents. I am excited to support this energy option since solar panel systems decrease dependence on fossil fuels and reduce the risks of rising energy costs in the long-run.”

Commenting, Councilman Jim Kenney said, “Today we move Philadelphia in the right direction, towards a more sustainable and greener future, while also encouraging economic development and job creation. As we continue down this green path, we must be open to further innovation and development of cleaner fuel sources.”

Passed by Council and signed into law by Mayor Nutter in the 2011 Term, Bills 110533 and 110829 amend the Code to exclude the costs of solar panels and inverters in calculating electrical permit and building permit fees when a photovoltaic system is installed.

In 2009, the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability released the landmark Greenworks report, setting a variety of sustainability goals, including a key target of purchasing and generating 20 percent of electricity used in Philadelphia from alternative energy sources. The passage and implementation of these code amendments are important steps towards meeting the vision of Greenworks — to make Philadelphia the Greenest City in the United States.

Mayor Nutter Opens City’s First Solar PV Installation

Mayor Michael A. Nutter, local and federal officials celebrated the completion of a new solar PV installation, the first owned by the City of Philadelphia, at the Philadelphia Water Department’s (PWD) Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant. The PWD installed a 250kW solar photovoltaic system, which was completed as a result of Philadelphia’s partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Solar America Cities program. The solar array, which produces enough energy to power 28 homes each year, also contributes to a goal of the Greenworks Philadelphia sustainability plan, to purchase or generate 20 percent of electricity used in the city from alternative energy sources by 2015.

“Producing solar energy at this City-owned water treatment plant reduces our greenhouse gas emissions, creates new jobs, and lowers our electricity bill. This is a smart investment that will help the city reach the goals set in Greenworks Philadelphia,” said Mayor Nutter. “I would like to thank the U.S. Department of Energy for helping Philadelphia to invest in renewable energies and to build upon our momentum to become the greenest city in America.”

“Philadelphia’s leadership in deploying solar energy highlights the important role local communities can play in expanding the U.S. solar industry and bringing more renewable energy online,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “This new solar energy installation will serve as a model for how cities across the country can partner with the federal government and the private sector to develop new sources of clean energy.”

The system at the PWD’s Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant is ground mounted and covers more than an acre of previously unused land. The treatment plant will use all of the solar power generated on-site, and PWD owns the Solar Renewable Energy Credits. The project was made possible by $850,000 from the City’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant from the DOE and $850,000 from the PWD and technical assistance from DOE’s Solar America Cities program. The PWD, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities and the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability were instrumental in identifying the site and acquiring funding for the project.

“By installing one of the first large-scale solar projects in Philadelphia, the City is demonstrating that alternative generation is both feasible and beneficial,” said Deputy Mayor for Transportation and Utilities Rina Cutler.

Commissioner of the Philadelphia Water Department Howard Neukrug added, “Water treatment uses large amounts of electricity. PWD is proud to use clean, sustainable power generated on-site. Because this project was so successful, we’re planning to replicate it at other treatment plants.”

About Solar America Cities:
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has designated 25 major U.S. cities as Solar America Cities committed to accelerating the adoption of solar energy technologies. The Solar America Cities partnerships represent the foundation of DOE’s larger Solar America Communities program which is designed to increase the use and integration of solar energy in communities across the United States. Visit Solar America Communities online at www.solaramericacommunities.energy.gov. Solar America Cities is hosting its annual meeting in Philadelphia April 25 to 28.

CITY OF PHILADELPHIA’S FIRST SOLAR PV INSTALLATION BREAKS GROUND

Philadelphia, December 13, 2010 The Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) has broken ground on a 250 kW solar photovoltaic system at their Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant. The project is the City of Philadelphia’s first solar installation and will help meet the Greenworks Philadelphia goal to purchase or generate 20% of electricity used in Philadelphia from alternative energy sources by 2015. PWD, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities and the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability are confident that the project is paving the way for many more to follow.

“The City is pleased to be leading by example and showing Philadelphians that generating electricity from alternative energy sources is feasible and sustainable,” said Deputy Mayor for Transportation and Utilities Rina Cutler.

“Generating solar power to use at our water treatment facility is win-win,” stated Debra McCarty, Deputy Commissioner of Operations for PWD. “We reduce PWD’s energy bills which ultimately benefits our rate-payers.”

The system at the PWD’s Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant will be ground mounted and cover more than an acre of currently unused land. It will produce enough energy to power 28 homes. The treatment plant will use all of the solar power generated on-site.  PWD will own the Solar Renewable Energy Credits, and CETCO, selected through the public works bid process, is building the project.

The project is made possible by $850,000 from the City’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), leveraged PWD funds and technical assistance from DOE’s Solar America Cities program.

“A great team of funders and partners has collaborated to bring this project to life,” said Kristin Sullivan, Program Director of the Philadelphia Solar City Partnership. “The City looks forward to learning from this project and replicating it.”

A ribbon cutting ceremony is planned for the Spring to celebrate the project’s completion.

About Solar America Cities:

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has designated 25 major U.S. cities as Solar America Cities committed to accelerating the adoption of solar energy technologies. The Solar America Cities partnerships represent the foundation of DOE’s larger Solar America Communities program which is designed to increase the use and integration of solar energy in communities across the United States. Visit Solar America Communities online at http://www.solaramericacommunities.energy.gov.

SECRETARY CHU APPOINTS MAYOR MICHAEL A. NUTTER TO DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY ADVISORY COMMITTEE

Mayor Nutter to serve on the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Advisory Committee

Philadelphia, November 29, 2010 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter has been appointed to serve on the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Advisory Committee (ERAC) by U.S. Secretary of Energy, Dr. Steven Chu.  The Committee’s role is to advise the Secretary of Energy on issues related to energy efficiency and renewable energy, and to provide recommendations on long-term planning, priorities, strategy and funding.

“We have a plan to make Philadelphia America’s number one green city and I am proud that we are becoming a leader in the creation of a new green economy,” said Mayor Nutter.  “By encouraging clean tech businesses to locate in Philadelphia and supporting the creation of new green technologies we are creating jobs and helping small businesses today, saving homeowners money today, but also investing in the future and keeping America competitive for the next 100 years.”

The City of Philadelphia is fast becoming one of America’s leading clean tech cities.  Earlier this year the federal government, including the Department of Energy, awarded a $129 million grant to the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster for Energy Efficient Buildings (GPIC) for the establishment of a national Energy Innovation Hub at the Philadelphia Navy Yard for the creation and commercialization of energy efficiency technologies.  In October 2010, Mayor Nutter announced that The Mark Group, a home energy efficiency firm based in the United Kingdom, will establish its U.S. Headquarters at the Philadelphia Navy Yard creating around 250 new jobs in Philadelphia.  And earlier this month Mayor Nutter and the Metropolitan Caucus launched EnergyWorks, a program funded with a $25 million grant from the Department of Energy to provide a range of services and financing mechanisms to homeowners and businesses to help them finance improvements and save money on their energy bills.

Mayor Nutter is the only elected official to serve on the Committee and was asked by Secretary Chu to serve as a “representative of local governments engaged in accelerating the incorporation of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies into the existing energy portfolio.”  The Committee is expected to meet twice per year with the first meeting taking place on Tuesday November 30, 2010, in Washington, D.C.

A list of the other members of the Committee can be found here: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/eere_advisory_committee/members.html

 

MAYOR NUTTER ANNOUNCES PHILLY BUYING POWER PROGRAM FOR PHILADELPHIA BUSINESSES

Mayor Michael A. Nutter joined the African American Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Asian American Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, Councilman Darrell Clarke, Councilman Wilson Goode, and City officials to announce the creation of Philly Buying Power, a city-endorsed energy purchasing program that will pool the energy demands of interested small businesses to get them competitive prices on their electricity bills. Sazon Restaurant & Cafe, a small business participating in the program, hosted the announcement. Philly Buying Power provides opportunities for commercial consumers to benefit from deregulation, weather potential volatility in the energy generating sector, and increase the affordability and percentage of sustainably produced power in their supply.

“Because this is uncharted territory for businesses, the City wanted to help them navigate the new marketplace,” explained Mayor Nutter. “Philly Buying Power allows businesses and non-profits to buy electricity with confidence and put their money into growing their organizations instead of paying energy bills.”

When PECO rate caps expire at the end of the year, Philadelphia businesses will be able to purchase electricity generation from a supplier of their choice. In other cities with expiring rate caps, generation suppliers have competed to serve larger businesses, institutions, and residents. However, suppliers often have made fewer competitive offers to small and medium businesses.

In October, the City selected Taylor Consulting and Contracting, a Pennsylvania-based energy management firm, to operate Philly Buying Power through a Request for Information process. The RFI sought a consultant to form a buyer’s group of Philadelphia businesses and administer an on-line auction for electric utility providers to compete for the aggregated electrical demand of the buyer’s group. A selection committee including Councilman Clarke, Councilman Goode, Councilman Jones, Councilman Kenney, and representatives from the African American Chamber of Commerce, the Hispanic American Chamber, the Law Department, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities, the Department of Commerce, and the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability chose Taylor as the most qualified respondent to run the program.

The City endorses Philly Buying Power to let Philadelphia businesses know that Taylor has experience building and operating successful energy aggregations, including one in the City of Boston. Taylor recently opened an office in Philadelphia to recruit, enroll, and service businesses in Philly Buying Power. They anticipate increasing their local workforce as the Philly Buying Power program grows and holding their first auctions for 2011 energy generation in late November or early December 2010.

“As customers make their electricity decisions for 2011, we hope all businesses will consider joining Philly Buying Power,” said Christopher Booth, Vice President of Taylor. “In addition to the procurement of energy, Philly Buying Power will provide enrollees with a state-of-the-art utility management system and access to energy services which will help businesses reduce and manage their electricity consumption.”

Taylor will group Philly Buying Power members with other businesses that share similar energy use profiles, and suppliers will bid for the opportunity to generate electricity for each grouping. The supplier that bids the lowest price wins a contract to generate power for the group. Over time, the buyer’s group and their total purchasing power will continue to grow, increasing the ability of the group to command lower prices from energy providers.

Sazon Restaurant & Cafe, a restaurant serving home-style Venezuelan cuisine at 941 Spring Garden Street, enrolled in Philly Buying Power to reduce their 2011 electricity expenses. Judith Suzarra-Campbell, chef and co-owner, explained, “We’ve gotten calls, mail, and visitors, all claiming that they can reduce our electricity costs. With so much information out there, we weren’t sure who to trust or how to approach buying our electricity. Philly Buying Power lets the experts get us the best deal at no risk or cost to our business.”

“The City is pleased to offer this innovative tool to help Philadelphia businesses make smart choices about energy, saving money and advancing the Greenworks Philadelphia goal of reducing citywide energy usage 10 percent by 2015,” said Alan Greenberger, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. “This is another great project proving that an environmentally friendly Philadelphia is also a business friendly Philadelphia.”

“Philly Buying Power creates exactly the kind of competition deregulation was intended to promote,” said James Cawley, Chairman of the Pennsylvania Utility Commission. “From a policy standpoint, everyone wins – suppliers are able to secure customers and the customers get great rates from their collective buying power. The PUC applauds the City of Philadelphia and Taylor for implementing this creative program.”
Businesses in Philadelphia and surrounding communities can enroll by visiting http://www.phillybuyingpower.com or http://www.phila.gov or calling the local Taylor office at 215.558.5185.