(December 8, 2006)
Council applauds commission's recommendation that New York extend power programs for longer periods
The Business Council is applauding a new report from the state's Temporary Commission on the Future of New York State Economic Development Power Programs for emphasizing the need to make a long-term commitment to these power programs.
"Business Council members have consistently identified the cost of electricity power as one of their top cost of doing business concerns in New York State," said Ken Pokalsky, director of environmental and manufacturing programs. "That's why the Council has made the long-term extension and 'repowering' of these program a legislative priority."
In each of these last two legislative sessions, the state Legislature has decided to pass only one-year "extender" bills, he noted. "With this report, the commission is joining The Business Council in supporting a more permanent, comprehensive approach in 2007," Pokalsky said.
The commission's final report to Governor Pataki was released last week.
The 11- person commission was created by the Legislature during the 2006 session as part of its one-year extension of provisions related to the Power for Jobs and Economic Development Power programs.
The Commission's report is recommending:
- Greater integration of program administration,
and more consistent eligibility criteria
for the state's nine current power
- The award of power benefits based on criteria including: contribution
of reduced cost power to a firm's viability, business attraction
and retention, level of capital investments, local economic significance,
investments in energy efficiency, ability of enterprise to leave
state, etc. The report generally identifies these criteria in
broad terms, with specific criteria to be developed.
- The gradual shifting of 550 megawatts of Niagara hydropower
now dedicated to Upstate residential use to state economic development
purposes, with protections for low income households and agriculture
energy user that pays residential rather than commercial rates.
- Contracts awarded under the new criteria should be for period of at least seven years, with annual audits to assess compliance with award criteria.
The report also recommends that the state need to add additional generation and transmission capacity to address the state's power supply issues.
The full report is at www.empire.state.ny.us/Power_Commission.asp. An Empire State Development (ESD) release on the report is at www.empire.state.ny.us/press/press_display.asp?id=785.