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NYPA President Pledges Cooperation with Municipal Electric Systems

Stephen Shoenholz

September 18, 2007


LAKE GEORGE—The New York Power Authority’s (NYPA) new president and chief executive officer, Roger B. Kelley, said Tuesday night that he is committed to working with the state’s municipal electric systems to address major energy and environmental challenges.

“As members of the public power community in New York State, each of us has a long history of solving difficult problems on behalf of the people we serve and of showing the way to others in our industry,” Kelley said at the annual meeting of the state’s Municipal Electric Utilities Association (MEUA).  “I look forward to joining with you to continue and strengthen this proud tradition.” 

Kelley, who took office at NYPA in July, said the state faces a series of critical energy issues, including the need to develop new generation and transmission projects, diversify its power sources and combat volatility in electricity prices. 

“And,” he said, “we must remain mindful of our obligation to do all this while protecting and improving the environment.” 

Kelley reported that the Power Authority’s new 50-year federal license for the Niagara Power Project, the municipal systems’ principal power source, took effect on Sept. 1 and that the Authority concluded a major upgrade at the hydroelectric facility last December. 

“The new license and the completion of the upgrade mark the start of a new era at the Niagara project,” he said.  “Not only will the Power Authority retain responsibility for this magnificent public resource, but we will operate it at utmost efficiency for many years to come.” 

Kelley told the municipal system officials that an agreement reached in 2003 between NYPA and the systems had secured their long-term supply of Niagara power and “set us on the path to a bright future of cooperation in such vital areas as energy efficiency, electric-drive transportation and economic development.”

In line with the transportation initiative, he announced that the Power Authority will provide grants, in addition to its usual low-interest loans, to help the municipal systems obtain heavy-duty hybrid utility, or bucket, trucks.  A number of systems had expressed interest in these vehicles, which run on diesel fuel and electricity. 

Kelley noted that, thanks to Power Authority loans totaling almost $460,000, 12 individual systems and the MEUA have purchased 19 electric and hybrid-electric vehicles of various types.  The new grants will cover the incremental cost of a hybrid as compared with a standard diesel bucket truck. 

Citing growing concerns about energy supplies and prices and the threat of global warming, Kelley said NYPA’s efforts to work with the municipal systems to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy sources have taken on new importance.

He said the Power Authority is participating in a state Public Service Commission proceeding to implement Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s goal of cutting the state’s energy use by 15 percent below forecasted levels by 2015. 

Among other efforts, Kelley said NYPA recently worked with the municipal systems in Plattsburgh, Lake Placid and Tupper Lake to install nearly 625 highly efficient refrigerators in public housing apartments.  He noted that the state’s 47 municipal systems, and its four rural electric cooperatives, can obtain financial and technical assistance from the Power Authority for energy efficiency and clean-energy projects. 

Kelley said power allocations this year under NYPA’s economic development program for municipal systems and cooperatives are expected to result in creation of a total of about 80 jobs and capital investment of more than $30 million by businesses in Massena, Sherrill and Tupper Lake.

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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