We believe this legislation is a significant step back from A.10053, the initial economic development power program legislation sponsored this session by Assemblyman Cahill. The program that would be established under this bill would be significantly less effective than the agreed-to bill announced last week by the Administration and Senate Majority (S.7937), as it fails to provide long term certainty to businesses participating in the program. For these reasons, The Business Council opposes A.11172.
The Business Council and other business interests strongly support a permanent new economic development power program that would give energy-intensive businesses increased certainty with regard to low cost power supply and pricing to energy intensive businesses. We believe a new, reformed program to replace Power for Jobs and related programs will help grow and preserve jobs, promote new capital and efficiency investments, and produce significant economic returns to the state. While this program would provide benefits statewide, it will be especially beneficial for upstate's manufacturing sector.
We believe A.11172 falls well short of what is needed to support existing and new business, and promote economic growth. Key concerns include the following:
- Business has made clear that the most beneficial approach is to provide an allocation of power, with both supply and price set in contracts, in order to provide long term certainty. While this bill says that the “power solutions” program can provide benefits including power allocations, it contains no real mechanism to provide allocation-based benefits. The program is backed by NYPA funds, not NYPA power, as would be the case under the Administration/Senate bill, leaving businesses with less certainly regarding price and supply.
- The energy program created in this bill relies on annual approval of the Power Authority's board of trustees for up to $120 million in financial support. Until and unless hydropower becomes available by way of NYPA-financed residential efficiency programs that reduces residential usage of current NYPA hydropower allocations, the annual NYPA funding is the only support for this program. If NYPA revenues are not sufficient to provide this full level of funding, businesses will see reductions in their power program benefits. Again, this bill fails to provide a complete, long term program that will provide consistent and certain benefits to participating business.
The Business Council and its member companies look forward to continuing to work with the Assembly, Senate and Administration in finalizing a new economic development power program this session. We believe this program is essential in retaining existing businesses and jobs, and for providing expanded opportunities to provide energy incentives to businesses looking to locate and expand in New York State. We believe A.11172 fails to establish an effective, long term economic development power programs, and we urge the Assembly to consider S.7937 as an alternative approach.