N.Y. Power Authority Trustees Elect John Koelmel Board Chairman
Power Authority to benefit from Western New Yorker’s more than three decades in the financial sector

Michael Saltzman
(914) 390-8181

June 27, 2012


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WHITE PLAINS—The New York Power Authority (NYPA) Board of Trustees on Tuesday elected John R. Koelmel of East Amherst (Erie County) as NYPA chairman, following the recommendation by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo that he be chosen by his fellow trustees to serve in the top statutory position at the Authority. 

Koelmel, who is the president and chief executive officer of First Niagara Financial Group, succeeds Michael J. Townsend of Fairport (Monroe County) as NYPA chairman.  Earlier this month, the New York State Senate confirmed Governor Cuomo’s appointment of Koelmel to the NYPA board, along with two other appointees—Onondaga County Executive Joanne Mahoney and Terrance Flynn, a Buffalo attorney.  All three participated in their first NYPA trustees’ meeting yesterday. 

“I’m honored to have been elected chairman of the Power Authority and am looking forward to working closely with the NYPA board and senior management in furthering the benefits NYPA brings to New York State,” Koelmel said.  “NYPA is an extremely important organization for carrying out Governor Cuomo’s ambitious energy policies for upgrading New York’s electric power system, advancing energy efficiency and clean energy goals, and promoting economic development through lower cost power allocations.  I’m confident that under the Governor’s leadership, the Power Authority and its superb statewide team led by Gil Quiniones, its president and CEO, will meet the challenges head-on and accomplish much for New Yorkers.”

“John Koelmel’s demonstrated leadership over more than three decades in the financial industry and penchant for being proactive and getting things done make him well suited for the NYPA chairmanship,” said John S. Dyson, NYPA vice chairman.  “The Power Authority is at the crucial intersection of a number of key initiatives by the Governor involving the state’s electric power infrastructure, economy and environment.  John’s strong financial background and understanding of diverse industries will be of great value in the NYPA board’s oversight and guidance.” 

“Governor Cuomo has established an exceedingly strong NYPA Board of Trustees, led by John Koelmel and John Dyson, to carry out his energy policies for advancing clean economical energy supplies and ensuring a top-performing electric power infrastructure for meeting the challenges of a 21st century economy,” said NYPA President Quiniones.  “Our newest members—Chairman Koelmel, Joanne Mahoney and Terrance Flynn—have the wide breadth of knowledge and experience in finance, government and law to contribute to the Power Authority’s success in implementing the Governor’s energy policies.  NYPA senior management and the other board members are all looking forward to working closely with them.”

In addition to Townsend—the previous NYPA chairman—the other trustees whose terms expired were D. Patrick Curley of Orchard Park (Erie County) and Mark O’Luck of New York City.  At Tuesday’s trustees’ meeting, the board passed resolutions recognizing the three former trustees for their dedicated years of service to NYPA and New York State.

Besides Governor Cuomo’s newest appointees to the seven-member NYPA board, the other current members are Judge Eugene L. Nicandri of Massena, Jonathan F. Foster of New York City, and R. Wayne LeChase of Rochester. 

Chairman Koelmel, who has been First Niagara Financial Group’s president and CEO since December 2006, has advised NYPA that he will forgo the $90,800 annual salary that he would be entitled to as NYPA chairman under state law.

About NYPA:

■The New York Power Authority uses no tax money or state credit. It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity. ■NYPA is a leader in promoting energy efficiency, new energy technologies and electric transportation initiatives.■It is the nation's largest state public power organization, with 17 generating facilities in various parts of New York State and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. ■Approximately 80 percent of the electricity it produces is clean renewable hydropower. Its lower-cost power production and electricity purchases support hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the state.■For more information,

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