The Cooperage Inn generates its own power when PSEG-LI needs to reduce energy load in times of stress on the electric grid. "I'm like a mini power plant," restaurant owner Jonathan Perkins said. Photo: Denise Civiletti

While most PSEG-Long Island customers have been asked to cut their electric consumption during the current heat wave to help reduce the strain on the region’s electrical supply, some commercial customers go off the grid altogether at times like this.

The Cooperage Inn in Baiting Hollow has been participating in the utility’s commercial system relief program for about a decade now, restaurant owner Jonathan Perkins said. Participants like the Cooperage agree to to reduce consumption when PSEG-LI declares a curtailment event at times of stress like during this week’s heat wave.

Tucked away behind a screened, fenced enclosure, the Cooperage has a 125-kilowatt diesel-powered generator that can power the entire restaurant. When Perkins is notified of a curtailment event, he’s requiring to power on the generator and disconnect from the grid for a minimum of four hours.

Participating commercial customers receive a reservation payment based on the amount of energy they pledge to reduce upon request. The reservation payment is made whether or not the customer is asked to reduce energy use. If they are asked to reduce energy use, they are paid an additional amount for their actual electric load reduction.

The program allows the utility’s electrical system to function more efficiently because it helps reduce their investment in production facilities otherwise required to meet peak demand.

In addition to helping reduce system stress in times like this, Perkins said, “It’s profitable.” He said participating in the program generates revenue of about $5,000 per year.

“I’m like a mini power plant to them,” Perkins said.

Participating customers receive notice of a curtailment event by email.

Perkins said PSEG-LI had mandatory curtailment events for program participants both yesterday and today, as a heat wave bore down on the region. High heat and humidity resulted in heat indices of around 104.

Peak power demand is “at risk of exceeding the available energy supply” and reductions in customer energy use are also required to reduce demand, LIPA said.

The system that supplies Long Island has lost about 900 MW of “net import capacity” due to problems with two third-party cables that carry electricity to Long Island from power sources north of the city. A LIPA spokesperson told the energy news platform S&P Global Platts. There was also an outage at a N.Y. Power Authority power plant and a partial outage of a third supply cable, S&P Global Platts reported today.

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.