Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul visited Ditch Plains Beach in Montauk on Thursday, August 18, to help announce the installation of power pedestals, which allow the Ditch Witch food truck to plug into the town’s power grid instead of relying on a loud and air-polluting power generator.
Three power pedestals are installed at Ditch Plains Beach and one has been installed at Kirk Park Beach, in a partnership between MOVE Systems, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the New York State Department of Transportation. The lieutenant governor was joined by Jeffrey Hoffman, vice president of MOVE Systems, John B. Rhodes, president and CEO of NYSERDA, and East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell, along with the food truck’s owners, Abby and Grant Monahan.
“I’d like to thank Ditch Witch and the East End for their commitment to this clean energy outlook,” Ms. Hochul said, addressing the public and press in front of the Ditch Witch food truck. “Governor Cuomo hopes that with this new initiative that, by 2030, 50 percent of the state’s energy usage will be with renewable energy sources. This new format of distributing electricity is a template, a model of what can be done around the country. There are almost 4,100 food trucks in the United States today, so imagine if they all followed this idea?”
The establishment of the power pedestals is part of Governor Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision strategy to encourage clean energy use in the state of New York. Ms. Hochul said that this small scale project will, hopefully, be a catalyst for more energy-conserving projects in the future. She also credited the Ditch Witch food truck for being willing to experiment with this new energy program, to which Mr. Hoffman agreed.
“Abby and Grant have a great local food business, but the big drawback has been that they had to run this noisy, polluting generator to have power,” Mr. Hoffman said. “When you’re here in Montauk, a noisy generator completely defeats the purpose of tourists wanting to come here and experience the beach. Eliminating the generator, eliminating the noise, eliminating the pollution helps the environment. Abby and Grant have even mentioned a drastic change in their sanity now that they don’t have to use the generator anymore.”
“[Ditch Plains] is kind of iconic,” Mr. Rhodes said. “This is a clean place. You’ve got the ocean, you’ve got the birds, you’ve got the dune grass, but then you have this gasoline fire generator belching pollutants. It doesn’t fit right with the beach.”
Mr. Hoffman added that this cleaner way of consuming energy will eliminate the stress of running the generator to the owners and allow them to continue operating this popular local business.
The funding for these power pedestals and more to soon be installed came from a $200,000 NYSERDA grant.
Ditch Witch food truck is a Monahan family business, originally founded by Abby and Grant’s mother 22 years ago and purchased by the siblings in 2014. The siblings were well aware of the headaches caused by the generator, both for the tourists and the environment. They sent an email to the town last fall looking to find some way to be connected to the power grid.
“Things converged and this happened,” Ms. Monahan said. “We were introduced to MOVE Systems and Kim Shaw [director of East Hampton Town natural resources] did an amazing job of organizing this whole thing and bringing all the parties together.”
“This new technology is important but it’s a small part of a bigger issue,” Mr. Cantwell said. “I’m glad that we’ve been recognized as an energy smart community and I hope the community continues to help promote energy safe practices.”