By Tom Precious
ALBANY -- Senate Energy Committee Chairman George Maziarz is accusing the Cuomo administration's Public Service Commission of trying to "plunder'' hydropower revenues from Western York to help finance the possible closing of a downstate nuclear power plant.
The Newfane Republican said statewide energy rates could rise by nearly $1 billion if the funding plan goes through and if the Indian Point plant along the banks of the Hudson River in Buchanan closes, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo desires.
Here is part of a press release issued by Maziarz this afternoon:
The PSC began a process last November to examine contingency plans for replacing the 2,000 megawatts of generation produced at Indian Point, should the facility close. Consolidated Edison and the New York Power Authority(NYPA) were asked to submit a document to the Commission which was delivered on February 1st, which specified certain projects and costs necessary to accomplish this goal. The transmission projects identified would cost a minimum of $811 million, costs which are proposed by NYPA and Con Ed to be recovered entirely by taxpayers. In a departure from past precedent, the money would be collected from ratepayers in every region of the state, not merely those in New York City and other parts of downstate New York who are receiving the benefits.
“Fixing our failing transmission infrastructure is a good thing, but upstate ratepayers who would receive zero benefit from the closure cannot be asked to foot any part of the bill,” said Senator George Maziarz, Chairman of the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee. “Attempting to make ratepayers in economically distressed areas of upstate New York pay for upgrades that benefit Manhattan is terrible public policy. It’s Robin Hood, but in reverse.”
In addition to new proposals for downstate transmission partially paid for by upstate ratepayers, the joint proposal from Consolidated Edison and NYPA also contemplates power purchase agreements (PPA’s) being offered to private generators in the Hudson Valley and greater capital region in order to compensate for the possible loss of Indian Point. These PPA’s would be financed by NYPA, and the Authority’s investment recovered through additional charges to ratepayers.
“365 days a year, and 24 hours a day profit infused water tumbles over Niagara Falls and becomes some of the most inexpensive electricity in the United States,” said Maziarz “Niagara is where NYPA makes its money, and Western New York money simply cannot be used to subsidize downstate generators. If NYPA wants to help generators with its Niagara profits, than it should look no further than Somerset and Dunkirk. Investments in repowering these plants along with upstate transmission upgrades are a smart investment that will create jobs while using our region’s resources where they belong.”