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February 5, 1998 

PowerChoice is powerful choice for NiMo customers and job retention

The Business Council has urged the state Public Service Commission to approve "PowerChoice," a restructuring plan for Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation. NiMo's plan calls for a 3.2 percent rate cut for residential customers and small businesses and a 25 percent rate cut for large industrial customers. The plan would also let all customers choose their electric supplier beginning in December 1999. PowerChoice is "the best plan for an equitable and responsible transition to a deregulated industry and competitive market," Daniel B. Walsh, president of The Business Council, said in a Feb. 2 letter to PSC Chairman John O'Mara. PowerChoice is undergoing final PSC review. Rate savings for large industries "will provide an incentive for businesses to stay and expand their facilities in New York," Walsh added. An independent economic analysis agreed that PowerChoice would improve state and local economies. ICF Resources of Fairfax, Va., reported that proposed price cuts in PowerChoice would create or retain approximately 8,200 jobs in NiMo's service territory and an estimated 9,400 jobs statewide by 2002. The analysis also said that the plan would increase the total annual purchasing power of households within the NiMo service territory by $540 million over four years. Assembly Energy Committee Chairman Paul Tonko said the plan provides too little savings to residential customers and small businesses.