As the communities we serve continue to grow, we are building our networks in an environmentally responsible manner.
AVANGRID is investing in its transmission systems to maintain their reliability and improve access to wind generation projects planned for Northern Maine and New Brunswick. Farther south, our NYSEG and RG&E customers are voting for renewable, wind energy. Over the past year, we saw more than a 50% increase in the number of customers participating in programs that allow them to purchase clean, wind generated energy. As load growth in Maine continues, we will be able to serve our communities with reliable, renewable energy using our upgraded transmission system.
Capital improvements at our hydroelectric stations yielded a combined 14% increase in hydroelectric generation for NYSEG and RG&E over the past year. With more hydroelectric power at hand, they had less need for electricity generated from sources that would release CO2. As a result we avoided 408,000 tons of CO2, 2,100 tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and 570 tons of nitrogen oxides. The CO2 emissions avoided are the equivalent of planting 55 million trees or not driving about 700 million miles. In 2007, NYSEG and RG&E will be making additional strategic investments to their hydroelectric generation facilities to further increase their potential generation capacity.