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Western New York leaders oppose Quebec power deal

by jmaloni

Press release

Thu, May 2nd 2013 09:00 am

Say 1000mw line will let Canadian state-run giant zap private companies

by Christian W. Peck

Public Information Officer

Niagara County Public Information Office

High-ranking public officials, school administrators and union heads will link arms at the Somerset Operating Facility on Thursday to urge that a New York State Public Service Commission ruling that allows construction of a 1,000-megawatt line from Quebec to New York City be stopped.

Under a deal blessed by the PSC, New York City would import electricity from Hydro-Québec, a state-owned and taxpayer-backed super-monopoly - entirely at the expense of private-sector power generators in upstate New York. Hydro-Québec and New York City-based investors would fund construction of the Champlain Hudson Transmission Line, which would carry electrical current from the Quebec border, under Lake Champlain and down the Hudson River to New York City, bypassing upstate New York-based private power generators like Upstate New York Power Producers, which operates the Somerset Operating Facility, a coal power plant in Somerset that is a major local employer and Niagara County's largest taxpayer.

Other upstate facilities would also be impacted in Erie, Chautauqua and Tompkins counties that, together with Somerset, represent an economic impact of more than $500 million per year in tax payments and direct and indirect employment.

Local, state and federal leaders, along with the heads of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, are expected to call on federal leaders in Washington to raise awareness to what they call an ill-conceived plan that hurts New Yorkers and thwart the deal with the Canadian government power monopoly.

Additionally, they say allowing the subsidized Quebec power to lower rates in New York City rather than replacing an old, under-capacity transmission system and lowering the rates with abundant, less-expensive New York-made power will potentially derail the replacement of transmission lines that all New Yorkers depend on.

WHO: Upstate New York Power Producers Somerset Plant Manager Jack White; U.S. Rep. Chris Collins, R-Clarence; State Sen. George D. Maziarz, R-Newfane; Assemblywoman Jane L. Corwin, R-Clarence; Niagara County Legislature Chairman William L. Ross, C-Wheatfield; Legislator John Syracuse, R-Newfane; Supervisor Dan Engert, R-Somerset; Barker Central School District Superintendent Dr. Roger Klatt; IBEW Local 966 President Mike D. Lutz.

WHAT: Generate public outrage and call on federal officials to raise awareness at the federal level and block a 1,000-megawatt transmission line that would provide Quebec an outlet for selling excess government-produced electrical power while bypassing private producers in New York state.

WHEN: Thursday, May 2, 10 a.m.

WHERE: Upstate New York Power Producers (former AES Somerset), 7725 Lake Road, Barker.

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