New York diaries to receive power discounts

ALBANY, NEW YORK - Governor David A. Paterson announced that more than 3,500 Northern New York businesses and dairy farms will receive an approximately 9 percent discount on their electric bill for the next year.

The savings will only go to St. Lawrence, Jefferson and Franklin counties and will be worth an average of $1,200 for each electric customer – with some of the largest electricity users possibly saving up to $250,000 over the period.

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) developed the temporary power discount program in conjunction with the Governor’s Office, and could result in up to $10 million in total savings. The Governor made the announcement at Wood Farms in Cape Vincent.

“During these difficult economic times, New York’s small businesses and our dairy farms are struggling to get by, and every little bit can help.

Electric bills make up one of the largest expenses for any business, and this discount can help businesses and dairy farms in St. Lawrence, Jefferson and Franklin counties make it through the next year,” says Paterson. “This effort will harness one of the North Country’s greatest assets — low-cost hydropower — to provide millions of dollars in savings to North Country businesses and dairy farms, reflecting our determination to direct the benefits of the St. Lawrence-FDR project to revitalize the region’s economy.”

The program is made possible through an agreement between NYPA, National Grid and New York State Electric and Gas (NYSEG) that applies temporary monthly credits to eligible customers’ electric bills. The program is funded from the sale of unused St. Lawrence-FDR power into the State’s wholesale electricity market. The power, which has been freed up due to the temporary curtailing of operations by Alcoa at the Massena East plant, is from a block of 490 megawatts of electricity known as Preservation Power reserved under a 2005 State law for businesses in St. Lawrence, Jefferson and Franklin counties.

Eligible customers will see a temporary reduction in their electricity costs for up to 12 months, most beginning with their November bills. The plan will also apply to the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe for the same designated customer groups in the Akwesasne community.

Dairy farms will receive a letter from both NYPA and the Department of Agriculture and Markets in the coming days and must apply to NYPA to participate in the program.

In May, the NYPA Board of Trustees authorized the North Country Power Discount Program, whose one-year term anticipates the return of aluminum production at the Massena East smelter. This discount will be applied to the monthly utility bills of National Grid and NYSEG and will be listed as a NYPA Temporary Electricity Credit for the eligible customers. Other customers, such as dairy farms, will receive direct payments from the Power Authority.

Among the Northern New York employers to benefit from the Power Discount Program are Samaritan Medical Center, Chapin Watermatics and Stature Electric, all in Watertown, N.Y.; Corning and St. Lawrence University, both in Canton, N.Y.; Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y.; and Agri-Mark in Chateaugay, N.Y.


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