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Government Affairs Albany Update

March 1, 2002

Assemblyman Luster to Retire

Assemblyman Marty Luster (125th A.D.) announced on February 28th his intention to retire at the end of his current term. Luster, Chairman of the Assembly Mental Health Committee has served seven terms. Luster said he wants to spend more time with his family. He also said he is teaching a government course at Cornell University. Luster represents Tompkins and Cortland counties.

NYSEG and RG&E Merger Approved; NYSEG Rates Approved

On February 27th the Public Service Commission (PSC) approved the merger of the Energy East (parent company of New York State Gas and Electric) and RGS Energy Group (parent company of Rochester Gas and Electric). The merger is expected to generate $164 million in savings for electric customers in their combined service territories through 2006.

The PSC also approved a five year plan for NYSEG that will reduce electric rates by $205 million annually. Electricity customers savings in that territory are reflected in the rate reductions of the merger plan between the two companies. If NYSEG accepts the Commission's conditions, the plan will take effect March 1, 2002. Under the rate plan, the monthly bill for an average residential customer will decrease by approximately 13%. Similar savings are expected for other customers including small businesses.

The rate plan also continues commitments to economic development programs and an educational campaign to inform customers of their options to shop for electricity. For additional information on these issue access the PSC web site at: http://www.dps.state.ny.us

Bethlehem Project Receives Article X Approval

The New York State Board on Electrical Generation and the Environment (Siting Board) approved, with conditions, the application of PSEG Power New York for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need to construct and operate a 750 megawatt electric generating plant in Bethlehem. The approval by the Siting Board completes the application and certification process and allows the project developer to proceed with construction. The plant will be constructed on land adjacent to the old facility. Once the new 750 megawatt plant is constructed the 400 megawatt Albany Steam Station will be retired. The net gain by the project is 350 megawatts. The new natural gas-fired plant will be much more efficient, produce less emissions and use less water than the Steam Station. The Business Council was a party to the Article X case and submitted public testimony in support of the project. For more information on the project access the developers web site at: http://www.bethlehemenergycenter.com/