Zack Hutchins
Director of Communications

For Release — Friday, August 15, 2003

Resources available for stories about electricity issues in New York


Although the causes of Thursday's blackout remain unclear, the failure of electricity systems will inevitably focus attention on the adequacy of New York's electricity supplies and transmission systems. This note is to remind you that The Business Council has long advocated both an increase in New York's electricity-generating capacity and upgrades to its transmission systems. For example:

  • Research by The Public Policy Institute, the research affiliate of The Business Council, showed that New York faces an acute need for more electricity-generating capacity. The Power to Grow, The Institute's 2002 white paper, concluded that New York needs at least a dozen new power plants with at least 9,200 megawatts of additional electricity-generating capacity within a five-year period. The report specifically warned that improvements are needed to keep New York's electricity system reliable, foster competition needed to reduce New York's above-average energy costs, and promote economic growth.

    The report noted that in May 2001, New York's generating capacity was 35,847 megawatts, 713 megawatts below the minimum needed to meet the summer's peak demand. This minimum included a reserve margin of 18 percent recommended by the New York State Reliability Council to ensure reliability in cases of shutdowns or failures of plants and transmission systems. (New York's Independent System Operator estimated that New York's electricity supply this year is "just adequate for normal summer weather.")

    A release on The Power to Grow, with a link to the full report, is at www.bcnys.org/whatsnew/2002/0204tpg3.htm.

  • In testimony on a draft state energy plan, The Council repeated warnings that the state must upgrade capacity and transmission to ensure reliability, foster growth, and promote competition. The testimony is available from www.bcnys.org/whatsnew/2002/0305sep.htm.

For further information or comment, call The Council at 518/465-7511.