For Release — September 15, 2009
Business Council says state's energy plan should focus on lower costs
ALBANY— To revitalize of our state's economy, New York needs to make energy prices more competitive with the rest of the nation,” said Ken Pokalsky, senior director of government affairs, The Business Council of New York State. “While New York has historically been a national leader in environmental and energy policy, the state needs to be aware of the economic costs imposed by its environmental and energy initiatives.”
“In our view, the draft energy plan gives little recognition to the impact of state-imposed costs, and falls woefully short in terms of a strategy to lower costs. Overall, we believe the draft energy plan will increase, rather than decrease costs for the foreseeable future,” added Pokalsky in testimony on the state energy plan before the State Energy Planning Board in Albany.
The Business Council testimony pointed out that New York businesses pay electric power costs that are between 40 and 60 percent higher than the national average and industrial natural gas prices about 35 percent higher than national average. A large portion of these costs are due to state policies and taxes.
“On top of New York's high energy commodity prices, New York has added other cost burdens on energy consumers - the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard, the Renewable Portfolio Standard (“RPS”), the System Benefits Charge, and the recently increased Public Service Law §18-a assessment which collectively cost New Yorkers almost $1.5 billion annually, and this added cost will increase each year, said Pokalsky. “We believe that the State Energy Plan should commit to a moratorium on new energy surcharges, levies, and assessments.”
The Business Council supports a number of energy policy objectives in the draft plan. These include:
- The need to develop a long-term alternative to the Power for Jobs and ECSB programs. Creation of a new, long term economic development power program – using NYSP hydro resources to provide an allocation-based benefit – is one of our economic development priorities, and we believe this should be a “must do” for the 2010 legislative session.
- encouraging in-state energy production, including development of the Marcellus shale formation;
- Promotion of demand side management strategies, which already provide significant cost savings for many industrial customers.
- the need to upgrade and expand our energy transmission infrastructure;
- The recognition of the value of new in-state nuclear generating capacity, a policy direction that we believe is essential to meet the state's ambitious GHG emission targets;
- The need for a new siting law for electric generation;
- The need for a statutory framework for carbon capture and sequestration that would create the necessary legal framework to pursue clean coal technology-based generation in New York State.
In the testimony, The Business Council also disagreed with the state's continued opposition to re-licensing the Indian Point units 2 and 3. Opposing continued operation of Indian Point contradicts the plans objectives of developing in-state energy supplies, maintaining system reliability and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The testimony also opposed additional state level mandates on greenhouse gas emissions and efficiency standards.