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N.Y. Power Authority Trustees Approve Low-Cost Hydropower Allocations for Five Western New York Companies and 149 New Jobs

Michael Saltzman

April 28, 2006


WHITE PLAINS—The New York Power Authority (NYPA) Trustees Friday approved new allocations of low-cost hydropower for a variety of companies in Western New York that will lead to creation of 149 jobs.

“These latest allocations of Niagara hydropower highlight the continuing efforts under Governor Pataki for revitalizing Western New York’s economy and growing jobs for the region,” said Timothy S. Carey, NYPA President and Chief Executive Officer. “What is particularly striking about the latest round of allocations is the diversity of the employers, including manufacturers of packaging materials, lumber, recycled-rubber, and frozen food. All of these firms are making significant capital investments to support their competitive operation, and we’re happy to help spur on their expansions by making this low-cost power available to them.”

The NYPA trustees approved power allocations to Flexo Transparent of Buffalo; Metaullics Systems, Division of  Pyrotek, Inc., Sanborn; R.A. Miller Hardwood Co., North Tonawanda; Rosina Food Products, Cheektowaga and West Seneca; and RubberForm Recycled Products, LLC, Lockport.

The allocations will come from two blocks of Niagara industrial power, known as replacement and expansion power, reserved under state and federal laws for Western New York businesses and industries within a 30-mile radius of the Niagara Project switchyard. Together, the two blocks of power account for 695 megawatts, or more than one-quarter of the project’s net dependable capacity of 2,400 MWs.

The Western New York Advisory Group, consisting of NYPA, National Grid, Empire State Development Corp., the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise and Niagara County, recommended the latest allocations, in accordance with a 2003 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for allocations of available Niagara power on a continuous basis to maximize the economic development benefits of the giant hydroelectric project, near Niagara Falls. 

“Governor Pataki’s encouragement and support helped to facilitate the streamlined process for making allocations of available Niagara hydropower as quickly as possible to maximize the project’s extraordinary value for job growth,” Carey said.

Since the MOU, the Power Authority has allocated nearly 73 MWs of power to 47 companies for more than 2,700 new jobs.

Flexo Transparent, which manufactures flexible packaging products for food and retail markets, is undertaking a nearly 13,000-square-foot expansion of its current facility, for hiring 10 new employees for a current work force of 90. In return, it is receiving a 380-kilowatt (kw) allocation of replacement power.

“We’re investing $5.6 million for the expansion, to add to the competitiveness of our Buffalo business, which has been around since 1954,” said Sharon Mabry, vice president, Flexo Transparent. “Our thanks to Governor Pataki, the Power Authority and the state and local economic development organizations for clearing the way for the low-cost hydropower and our plans for adding jobs.”

Metaullics Systems, Division of Pyrotek, Inc., a recognized leader in specialty graphite and in molten-metal processing equipment and materials, will receive 1,200 kw of replacement power in connection with its plans to purchase and refurbish the former Saint Gobain plant in Sanborn, adjacent to an existing Pyrotek facility that also receives Niagara hydropower.

“This low-cost power is key to our more-than $2.1 million investment and the creation of 19 new jobs,” said Kevin J. Scott, Metaullics’ operations manager. “The expansion will increase sales, adding value to our Western New York business.”

 R.A. Miller Hardwood is planning to build a new 12,000-square-foot milling facility at its North Tonawanda site, which survived a major fire last year that destroyed the company’s boiler and drying kilns. The $2.5 million expansion, which will be supported by an allocation of 200 kw of replacement power, will shore up the operation and add to its competitiveness. Currently, there are 43 employees, with the 117-year-old company planning 10 additional jobs.

Rosina Food Products is investing nearly $6.2 million in new equipment and other measures to increase the production capacity of its Cheektowaga and West Seneca facilities, which produce Italian specialty products. Each of the facilities received 400 kw allocations of expansion power, in return for a total of 80 new jobs at the two sites, where 401 people are currently employed. 

 “These expansions, which are necessary for us to compete in an increasingly aggressive marketplace, depend on the low-cost hydropower that the Power Authority is allocating,” said Russell Corigliano, president and chief executive officer, Rosina Food Products. “Electricity is a significant portion of our production costs, so we’re really appreciative of the NYPA board’s actions and the support of the Governor and other state and local officials.”

RubberForm Recycled Products, a new company, is updating and renovating a facility in Lockport to produce recycled-rubber products from recycled-tire rubber. Local and state governments put an economic development package together to make possible its operation in Western New York, and the Niagara hydropower is another key element.

The company will receive 500 kw of expansion power in return for creating 30 jobs at the facility, where it is investing $1.2 million, including new equipment.

The Niagara Project, which is the single largest source of electricity in New York State, is linked to 43,416 jobs at more than 100 companies in Western New York.  In addition to businesses and industries, other customer groups include 17 community-owned electric systems in the region and residential electricity customers of National Grid, New York State Electric and Gas and Rochester Gas and Electric.

About NYPA:

■    NYPA 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-owned electric utility, with 18 generating facilities in various parts of the state and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. 

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