Lance cites lower rates, efforts on behalf of local economy
by Christian W. Peck
Public Information Officer
Niagara County Public Information Office
Niagara County Legislature Economic Development Committee Chairwoman Kathryn Lance, R-Wheatfield, delivered the following remarks Thursday night at a New York State Public Service Commission hearing at the Amherst Municipal Building, where the PSC was taking public comment regarding a proposal by National Grid to lower customers' bills. Lance was joined by economic development officials from throughout Western New York:
"Good evening. My name is Kathryn Lance, and I am speaking on behalf of the Niagara County Legislature, as chairperson of that Legislative body's economic development committee.
"I am here to express Niagara County's support of National Grid's rate filing proposal, which only affects electricity customers in Niagara County. It is our understanding that if National Grid's proposal is approved, the total electric bills for its customers will decrease by 1.7 percent. We understand that the rate filing calls for an increase in annual electricity delivery rates, but with a $190 million surcharge set to expire, customers will be seeing a reduction in their electric bills.
"Niagara County supports National Grid's proposal, which benefits the residents of Niagara County.
"It is also our understanding that National Grid is proposing to increase the funds they make available in their economic development programs from $9 million to $11 million. National Grid's economic development programs have had a profoundly positive impact on Niagara County's economy over the past decade. For example, National Grid awarded Greenpac Mill LLC of Niagara Falls a $500,000 grant to help fund the construction of an electric substation at their new paper mill. Greenpac Mill is investing $407 million in the construction of this new facility, and will be creating 110 new family-supporting jobs over the next three years. This 250,000-square-foot facility is scheduled to go on line in July of this year, and will help us retain many of our young people who are looking for an opportunity to stay home, and raise their families here in Niagara County.
"Another example is National Grid's awarding of a $190,000 grant to the Lumber City Development Corporation of North Tonawanda, for electric infrastructure work at the Buffalo Bolt Business Park. Buffalo Bolt will soon be the home to an expanded Taylor Devices of North Tonawanda, as well as other manufacturing facilities that will be creating new family-supporting jobs in our community.
"Niagara County received a $300,000 grant from National Grid for the development of a New York state-certified shovel-ready site, which is now known as the Cambria Tech Park in the Town of Cambria. Because of this grant, this site will jump right to the short list of site selectors who are looking to site high tech projects in New York state.
"These are just a few of the Niagara County projects National Grid supported through their grant programs over the past several years. In all, National Grid has awarded over $3.1 million dollars in grants to various projects in Niagara County, including a $250,000 grant for an electric substation at Metaullics in the Town of Wheatfield to support their expansion project; $50,000 to Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center to support their new state-of-the-art emergency room; $25,000 for the historic Riviera Theatre in North Tonawanda to upgrade their electrical system; and much more.
"I think it is clear: National Grid is investing in economic development in Niagara County and throughout our Western New York region. National Grid will continue to invest in its infrastructure, which is critical not only for its residential customers, but also its industrial customers here in Niagara County that rely on good reliable delivery of electric power to their facilities.
"In conclusion, once again, on behalf of Niagara County Legislature Chairman William Ross, and my colleagues on the Niagara County Legislature, Niagara County is in full support of National Grid's April 27, 2012, rate filing proposal.
"Thank you for the opportunity to speak this evening."