The Niagara USA Chamber released the following statement on Friday:
"As upstate businesses struggle to compete in a global economy, they continue to be handicapped by the high cost of doing business in New York state. In the Niagara Region, low cost hydropower from the Niagara Power Project is one advantage to remaining competitive. However, the Public Service Commission's proposals to raise statewide energy rates by nearly $1 billion under contingency plans in the event of the closure of the Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan, N.Y., would erase that and raise costs to upstate ratepayers.
"Consolidated Edison and NYPA recently submitted to the Public Service Commission a proposed contingency plan in the event of closure of Indian Point. The plan calls for the expenditure of nearly a billion dollars to upgrade transmission capability in the downstate region. Additionally, the parties suggest that NYPA fund power purchase agreements with private generators (PPAs) in the Hudson Valley. These PPAs are in effect subsidies to keep downstate power rates lower - paid for by all of NYPA's customers, most of whom receive no benefit.
"The Niagara USA Chamber fully supports Sen. George Maziarz's statements made to the PSC in which he stated, 'While fixing our failing infrastructure is a good thing ... upstate ratepayers who are receiving zero benefit cannot be asked to foot any part of the bill. Attempting to make ... economically distressed areas of upstate New York pay for upgrades that benefit Manhattan is terrible public policy.'
"As one of the region's leading business advocacy organizations, the Niagara USA Chamber recognizes the importance of protecting both residential and business rate payers in Niagara. We commend Sen. Maziarz on his statements and urge everyone to voice their support."