Today’s news:

Senator lauds biz energy plan

State Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) and state Assemblyman Michael Miller (D-Woodhaven) joined Con Edison and small business advocates outside a Glendale flag store last week to tout the benefits of programs from utilities that help businesses lower their energy costs.

“I think it’s time that we as elected officials ... go in the direction of helping small businesses,” Addabbo said outside Delta ´╗┐Signs and Flags at 65-24 Myrtle Ave., which recently used a Con Ed program that will save the store owner 17 percent on the business’ utility bill.

“There are many good programs to help our small businesses,” Addabbo said. “Unfortunately, some of these programs are not taken advantage of.”

The senator cited a study by the Center for an Urban Future that found New York City pays twice the national average on electricity costs.

David Giles of the CUF said businesses can take steps to save on energy costs by installing new fluorescent lighting and ceiling fans.

He said they can get a return on their investment in three years — sometimes even less than a year.

Rebecca Craft, director of energy efficiency programs for Con Ed, said the utility conducts a free survey for small businesses that have less than an average peak monthly demand of 100 kilowatts.

She said the program also offers free upgrades for fluorescent light bulbs and water heater thermostats and may pay for up to 70 percent of major equipment upgrades.

“These can save you certainly a few dollars,” she said. “The bottom line is we can help you no matter what size customer you are.”

Fred Vaynman, owner of Delta ´╗┐Signs and Flags, said he decided to take advantage of the Con Ed program after a representative from the utility stopped by his business two weeks ago.

He said it cost him $90 to make his business more energy efficient and that he expects to see a 17 percent drop in his electric bill, which ranges from $100 to $140 a month.

“For 17 percent, it’s a good saving,” he said.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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