Agriculture_Markets
Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
 
   
Jessica Ziehm
518-457-3136
jessica.ziehm@agriculture.ny.gov


September 29, 2010

NYPA Extends North Country Power Discount Program for Thousands Of Businesses and Dairy Farms

Businesses and Dairy Farms in St. Lawrence, Jefferson and Franklin Counties Will Continue to Save Hundreds of Dollars
Low-Cost Hydropower to Provide Up to $10 Million in Savings

OGDENSBURG—New York Power Authority (NYPA) President and Chief Executive Officer Richard M. Kessel today announced the extension of a program aimed at using the resources of the St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Power Project to provide energy discounts to thousands of businesses and dairy farms in Northern New York during this economic downturn.

At its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, the NYPA Board of Trustees approved the extension of up to one year of the North Country Power Discount Program which has, over the past 12 months, provided approximately $9.6 million in total energy discounts to commercial and industrial businesses and dairy farmers throughout St. Lawrence, Jefferson and Franklin counties.

“This program capitalizes on one of the North Country’s greatest resources – low-cost hydropower and returns that resource to the community,” said Governor David A. Paterson. “As Northern New York companies and dairy farmers continue to struggle, discounts on power bills will help them weather this economic crisis and hopefully emerge stronger as the economy rebounds.”

“We are proud to continue this power discount program in support of businesses and jobs in the North Country,” Kessel said. “This program utilizes the hydropower generated at the St. Lawrence-FDR Power Project to continue to provide meaningful financial support through credits on power bills to employers in the St. Lawrence, Jefferson and Franklin counties until such time as Alcoa is ready to draw down that power for the reopening of its east plant.”

Judge Eugene L. Nicandri, a NYPA trustee and Massena resident, said: “I am pleased to support the extension of this temporary power discount program that has proven itself to be critical in the Power Authority’s efforts to support businesses and dairy farmers during this economic downturn.  Until such time as Alcoa begins to draw down this power for the operations at its East Plant, I will continue to advocate for those specific hydropower resources generated at the St. Lawrence-FDR Power Plant to be used in support of employers in the Northern New York region.”

Since the commencement of the program, approximately 3,500 commercial and industrial businesses and dairy farms have each received, on average, total savings on their electric bills of approximately $1,200, representing an average nine percent discount.

Eligible customers will continue to see a temporary reduction in their electricity costs for up to the next 12 months. Today’s action by the NYPA Board of Trustees commits up to another $10 million in addition to the initial $9.6 million already distributed throughout the past year through the program.

In May of 2009, the NYPA Board of Trustees authorized the North Country Power Discount Program with a one-year term in anticipation of the return of aluminum production at the Alcoa East smelter. This discount is applied to the monthly utility bills of National Grid and NYSEG and is listed as a NYPA Temporary Electricity Credit for the eligible customers. Other customers, such as dairy farms, have been receiving direct payments from the Power Authority.

The program is funded from the sale of unused St. Lawrence-FDR power into the State’s wholesale electricity market. The power, which has been freed up due to the temporary curtailing of operations by Alcoa at the Massena East plant, is from a block of 490 megawatts of electricity known as Preservation Power reserved under a 2005 State law for businesses in St. Lawrence, Jefferson and Franklin counties.

The program is made possible through an agreement between NYPA, National Grid and New York State Electric and Gas (NYSEG) that applies temporary monthly credits to eligible customers’ electric bills.

Among the Northern New York employers to benefit from the Power Discount Program are Samaritan Medical Center, Chapin Watermatics and Stature Electric, all in Watertown; Corning and St. Lawrence University, both in Canton; Clarkson University in Potsdam; and Agri-Mark in Chateaugay.

Senator Darrel J. Aubertine, Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee and Ranking Majority Member of the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee, said: “This program has successfully directed unallocated power to extend a real savings to our businesses, including our dairy farmers who have been struggling with low milk prices. The hydro-electric dam in our own backyard provides the authority with low cost power and this program ensures that the benefits stay in our own communities. I want to thank CEO Kessel, NYPA and Governor Paterson for extending this program and keeping our dairy farms enrolled.”

Senator Joseph Griffo said: "There's so much reliance on this program by several major North Country employers, which in turn affect thousands of employees. I look forward to the day when we can examine making these discounts available on a permanent basis. In the meantime, NYPA President Kessel and the Board did a positive thing for the region by extending these benefits. The Discount Program investment reflects their continued efforts and commitment to the North Country community."

Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell said: "During these trying financial times, I am so pleased that we have been able to continue to receive the benefits of our low-cost hydropower while we await Alcoa East's restart.  While this benefit is only temporary, it is helping our small business and farms cope with challenging markets and dire financial conditions.  This program has kept $9.6 million dollars in our local economy and the additional potential $10 million coming in over the next year will help keep the rest of our local economy moving forward.  I applaud and thank the Power Authority and all those involved in conceiving and implementing this program and for ensuring this benefit continues until the energy is reclaimed by Alcoa."

Assemblywoman Dierdre Scozzafava said: “I am pleased the North Country Power Discount program is being extended to our agribusinesses and dairy farmers.  Since production costs for farmers continue to increase while their income fluctuates greatly, this program will help maintain a vital part of the North Country economy.”

Patrick Hooker, Commissioner of the State Department of Agriculture and Markets, said: “This program proved effective in lowering the operating costs on dairy farms in the North Country, and we are pleased that the Governor and the New York Power Authority have decided to extend it.  This extension will significantly help our North Country dairy farmers recuperate the record losses they incurred during last year’s devastatingly low milk prices.”

Tom King, President of National Grid in the U.S., said: "National Grid will continue our full support in NYPA's extension of this worthwhile program, which will mean ongoing savings for North Country energy users. The program benefits our customers, the North Country economy and the environment."

About NYPA:
¦    The New York Power Authority uses no tax money or state credit.  It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity.  ¦    NYPA is a leader in promoting energy efficiency, new energy technologies and electric transportation initiatives.  ¦    It is the nation's largest state public power organization, with 17 generating facilities in various parts of New York State and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines.  ¦    Nearly 80 percent of the electricity it produces is clean renewable hydropower.  Its lower-cost power production and electricity purchases support hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the state.      For more information, www.nypa.gov

The program is made possible through an agreement between NYPA, National Grid and New York State Electric and Gas (NYSEG) that applies temporary monthly credits to eligible customers’ electric bills.

Among the Northern New York employers to benefit from the Power Discount Program are Samaritan Medical Center, Chapin Watermatics and Stature Electric, all in Watertown; Corning and St. Lawrence University, both in Canton; Clarkson University in Potsdam; and Agri-Mark in Chateaugay.

Senator Darrel J. Aubertine, Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee and Ranking Majority Member of the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee, said: “This program has successfully directed unallocated power to extend a real savings to our businesses, including our dairy farmers who have been struggling with low milk prices. The hydro-electric dam in our own backyard provides the authority with low cost power and this program ensures that the benefits stay in our own communities. I want to thank CEO Kessel, NYPA and Governor Paterson for extending this program and keeping our dairy farms enrolled.”

Senator Joseph Griffo said: "There's so much reliance on this program by several major North Country employers, which in turn affect thousands of employees. I look forward to the day when we can examine making these discounts available on a permanent basis. In the meantime, NYPA President Kessel and the Board did a positive thing for the region by extending these benefits. The Discount Program investment reflects their continued efforts and commitment to the North Country community."

Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell said: "During these trying financial times, I am so pleased that we have been able to continue to receive the benefits of our low-cost hydropower while we await Alcoa East's restart.  While this benefit is only temporary, it is helping our small business and farms cope with challenging markets and dire financial conditions.  This program has kept $9.6 million dollars in our local economy and the additional potential $10 million coming in over the next year will help keep the rest of our local economy moving forward.  I applaud and thank the Power Authority and all those involved in conceiving and implementing this program and for ensuring this benefit continues until the energy is reclaimed by Alcoa."

Assemblywoman Dierdre Scozzafava said: “I am pleased the North Country Power Discount program is being extended to our agribusinesses and dairy farmers.  Since production costs for farmers continue to increase while their income fluctuates greatly, this program will help maintain a vital part of the North Country economy.”

Patrick Hooker, Commissioner of the State Department of Agriculture and Markets, said: “This program proved effective in lowering the operating costs on dairy farms in the North Country, and we are pleased that the Governor and the New York Power Authority have decided to extend it.  This extension will significantly help our North Country dairy farmers recuperate the record losses they incurred during last year’s devastatingly low milk prices.”

Tom King, President of National Grid in the U.S., said: "National Grid will continue our full support in NYPA's extension of this worthwhile program, which will mean ongoing savings for North Country energy users. The program benefits our customers, the North Country economy and the environment."

About NYPA:
¦    The New York Power Authority uses no tax money or state credit.  It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity.  ¦    NYPA is a leader in promoting energy efficiency, new energy technologies and electric transportation initiatives.  ¦    It is the nation's largest state public power organization, with 17 generating facilities in various parts of New York State and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines.  ¦    Nearly 80 percent of the electricity it produces is clean renewable hydropower.  Its lower-cost power production and electricity purchases support hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the state.  ¦    For more information, www.nypa.gov


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