When Disaster Strikes: Critical On-Site Cogeneration Issues Relating to Reliability & Liability

  • Peter V.K. Funk
Keywords: Disaster Strikes


Widespread disasters in recent years such as Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy have focused attention upon the reliability of, and possible legal issues relating to, on-site generation. This article focuses upon onsite generation, such as synchronous cogeneration, which can start when the grid is down, and other emergency back-up generation that has the capacity to function during an electric distribution outage. Cogeneration has the economic advantage of providing baseline electric and thermal energy to the facility whether or not the grid is operational. Here we concentrate on cogeneration and generation at healthcare facilities and within multi-occupant residential dwellings and discuss certain legal consequences arising as a result of failing to provide on-site power when required to do so by law. We also discuss the potential consequences resulting from the installation of cogeneration in multi-occupant residential buildings when the owner has no legal obligation to make such an installation, and how such consequences, including obligations that arise, can be addressed and potential legal liability mitigated.


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Author Biography

Peter V.K. Funk

Peter Funk is a partner in the law firm of Funk & Zeifer LLP. His renewable, alternative and conservation energy practice includes cogeneration, solar power, landfill gas or animal waste bio-methane to power\gas off-take, cogeneration, energy efficiency, conservation projects, demand site management and energy-related financings. He has been involved with many on-site CHP and solar generation projects. Among many other representations throughout the energy industry, he has served as outside general counsel to an energy services company. A member of the American and New York State bar associations and the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, he is a graduate of Boston University School of Law. He often writes and speaks on topics in the energy and sustainability sectors. He is a member of the Energy Committee of the NYC Bar and an Associate Member of AEE, and a member of the Technical Advisory Board of Mission Critical Magazine. He was president of the multi-family cooperative apartment building that became the first real time price electricity customer of Con Ed as a NYSERDA demonstration project. That project also included participation in an emergency electric curtailment program with NYISO and an energy efficiency retrofit of the building. He has received a “Green Team” award from the New York Association of Realty Managers.

His contact information follows:

Funk & Zeifer LLP

260 Madison Avenue

New York, NY 10016

(646) 597-6284