State Sen. Mark Grisanti, R-60th, sponsored and passed a bill that is designed to change the makeup of the New York Power Authority to include a resident of Niagara County. The bill, co-sponsored by Sen. George Maziarz, R-62nd, amends the public authorities' law to provide that the NYPA board of trustees, appointed by the governor with the approval of the Senate, must contain one trustee who is from Niagara County and one who is from St. Lawrence County.
Presently, there are seven trustees appointed by the governor for terms of up to five years, and not one is from Niagara County.
Grisanti said one of Niagara County's greatest assets is hydropower, or electricity caused by water. The Niagara Power Plant diverts water from the Niagara River (up to 375,000 gallons a second) to the Robert Moses plant, which converts that water into electrical energy. About a billion dollars of electricity is generated annually by the fall of the Niagara River.
"I am excited about the vote on this bill designed to give Niagara county residents a voice in the distribution of electricity. Hopefully, the full Senate will vote unanimously as the committee did to update the NYPA board of trustees to better reflect those with a stake in decisions being made about hydropower," Grisanti said. "The New York State government has diverted locally produced energy to more important destinations like New York City since it established the NYPA in 1957. Niagara county residents now find themselves paying the third highest electrical rates in the USA. With representation on the NYPA, Niagara county residents will be at the table when decisions about who should benefit from cheaper electricity grown in Niagara Falls are being made."
NYPA is the nation's largest state public power organization with 17 generating facilities in various parts of New York and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. Almost 80 percent of the electricity produced is clean, renewable hydropower.
The first vote on the bill, S-2601, was voted out of committee on Feb. 14 with a vote of 11-1.
The vote passed the Senate Monday by a 51-8 vote.