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NYPA Approves Hydro Allocations for 79 News Jobs at Western New York Companies

Michael Saltzman

May 22, 2007


LEWISTON—The New York Power Authority (NYPA) Board of Trustees Tuesday approved allocations of low-cost Niagara hydropower for six Western New York companies to help create 79 jobs and nearly $13 million in capital investments. 

“These allocations will help support the expansion plans of diversified industries, highlighting the tremendous boost hydropower gives to Western New York’s economy,” said Timothy S. Carey, NYPA president and chief executive officer. “The Niagara project protects more than 43,000 jobs on the Niagara Frontier at employers with a total annual payroll of approximately $2 billion, and we’re continuing to make new allocations on a regular basis, working in concert with local and state economic development officials.” 

The NYPA trustees approved allocations of 2,350 kilowatts (kw) for Allegheny Technologies, Lockport; Enidine, Orchard Park; Mayer Brothers Apple Products, West Seneca; Noble Metal Processing, Tonawanda; Precious Plate, Niagara Falls; and Saint Gobain-Advanced Ceramics, Niagara Falls. The allocations are from two large blocks of Niagara industrial power known as Replacement Power and Expansion Power, reserved for Western New York businesses under New York State law, and provided at rates approximately 75 percent less than average wholesale market prices.

Allegheny Technologies (Allvac) is installing a new furnace and related equipment as part of a $4 million capital investment at its specialty steel melting facility in Lockport. The facility competes with other Allegheny plants in other states and in England for meeting demand from aerospace engine manufacturers for high-performance alloy products. The NYPA trustees approved a new 300-kw allocation; Allvac is adding three jobs to its current Lockport work force of 60. 

Enidine, which manufactures energy absorption and vibration isolation products for aerospace and other industrial applications, is undertaking a more-than $2.5 million expansion to increase its building space and add new manufacturing equipment. The company expects to add 20 new jobs to its current work force of 290, in return for 200 kw. The allocation marks the first time the company will be receiving Niagara hydropower. 

Mayer Brothers Apple Products, which dates back to 1852 in West Seneca, is investing $525,000 in new distillation equipment for its fruit juice and water-bottling enterprise. The company will receive a 200-kw allocation, as it adds six new jobs to its payroll of 107 employees. 

Noble Metal Processing, an automobile-parts manufacturing company, has selected Tonawanda for its first production facility in New York State. The company, which had been considering expanding an existing facility in Ohio, as an alternative, will receive 250 kw of hydropower for 14 new jobs and investment of $1.5 million. The Tonawanda facility will provide laser-welded blanks for automobile doors, an alternative process to traditional welding methods, for lighter, more fuel-efficient vehicles. 

“Our laser systems use a significant amount of electricity. Our decision to move into the Western New York area was greatly affected by the availability of this low-cost power and other state and local tax incentives. It was a great experience working with the New York Power Authority, National Grid, the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise, and the Town of Tonawanda to help make this plan a reality,” said Matthew Wood, representative for the company. “We are looking forward to bringing our cutting-edge technology to the Greater Buffalo area and realizing our vision for the future of the automotive industry together.” 

Precious Plate is investing nearly $1.4 million in new electroplating machines and ancillary apparatus, with much of the equipment purchases from New York State suppliers. The company, which applies metallic coating on metal and other conducting services by using electric current, will receive a new 400-kw allocation of hydropower. It is planning to add 19 new jobs to its current work force of 145, for the products it provides to telecom, datacom, automotive and aerospace industries.” 

Saint-Gobain, whose ceramic products include armor materials for U.S. soldiers, is making a multimillion dollar investment in its operations, to add 17 more jobs to an existing work force of 172 at one of its two manufacturing facilities in Niagara Falls. The NYPA trustees approved a 1,000-kw allocation for the expansion following their approval in January of a separate 1,400-kw allotment of hydropower in connection with other commitments for jobs and capital investment at the same facility.  

“The hydropower allocations are immensely helpful for enhancing the cost effectiveness of our Niagara Falls operation, for production of essential body-armor materials for U.S. soldiers overseas,” said Ed Asbach, manager, Facilities & Capital Engineering, Saint-Gobain Ceramics, Niagara Falls. “The low-cost power makes a real contribution in fortifying our facility’s competitiveness, ability to expand and long-term outlook.” 

The Western New York Advisory Group (WNAG), consisting of NYPA, National Grid, Empire State Development Corp., the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise, and the Niagara County Department of Economic Development, recommended Tuesday’s allocations. The WNAG was established in 2003 to help identify qualified companies for available industrial power from the Niagara project.

  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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