The Business Council of New York State opposes this legislation that would establish new and onerous requirements for the closure or sale of a nuclear electric plant. Current laws and regulations provide workers, the public service commission and the operator of the competitive wholesale markets with notice of the future closure sale of a businesses engaged in electric generation.
The legislation requires that a year and a half prior to the closure or sale of nuclear electric plant that the owner operator must supply a plan detailing the process for the closure or sale of the facility. Furthermore the plan requires that construction during the closure and decommissioning process should be subject to a project labor agreement and requires the health screenings for contractors and sub-contractors.
Under current law private sector employers that employ more than fifty employees are required to issue New York State Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act 1 notices ninety days before closing. Additionally, they must also notify when there is a layoff that affects thirty three percent of the workforce (at least 25 workers) or 250 workers from a single employment site. They must send the notice to employees, their representatives, the State Labor Department and local workforce investment partners. The Act provides for a civil penalty of $500 per day of violation. Employers in violation are also liable for back pay and other benefits for 60 days of the violation.
Furthermore pursuant to New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) tariffs a generator must provide the NYISO with a minimum of 365 days’ notice before it may be retired or enter into a mothball outage, to ensure continued system reliability.
The current law also governor’s the transfer of ownership, pursuant to New York Public Service Law (PSL) §70 any acquisition resulting in the holding of more than 10% of the common stock in an electric corporation by any person or type of company is subject to review and approval by the Public Service Commission (Commission). The Commission uses a public interest standard in its review. Among the factors the Commission considers in making such a determination are affiliations that might afford opportunities for the exercise of market power or pose the potential for other transactions detrimental to captive ratepayer interests, the financial integrity of the transferee and the transferee’s ability to render safe, adequate and reliable service. The Commission uses higher standards to review the transfer of a nuclear facility.
Current laws and regulations provide employees and energy regulators with proper notice to plan for a closure or regulate a sale of a nuclear electric plant. This legislation is simply unwarranted. Furthermore the legislation mandates labor conditions that would be more properly addresses in collective bargaining agreements, due to the significant costs and obligations that they represent.
For these reasons The Business Council strongly opposes the enactment this legislation.