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Power Authority Trustees Approve Short-Term Hydropower Contract Extensions To Upstate Utilities

Paul DeMichele

October 2, 2009 


WHITE PLAINS—The New York Power Authority (NYPA) Board of Trustees has approved short-term contract extensions for the sale of low-cost hydropower to National Grid, New York State Electric and Gas, and Rochester Gas and Electric for the benefit of their residential customers, under the state Public Authorities Law. 

The extended contracts, from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2010, are for the continued sale of 455 megawatts (mw) of firm power from the Power Authority’s St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt and Niagara Power Projects and 360 mw of firm peaking power from the Niagara project. (Firm power is defined as power intended to be available at all times, while firm peaking power is generation to satisfy demand for electricity during hours of greatest usage.)

The hydropower is provided to the three investor-owned utilities (IOUs) at rates typically 75 percent less than market prices, with the full benefits passed onto mostly residential customers (the recipients are also referred to as rural and domestic customers). The power is among the least-cost in the country.

The Power Authority has sold hydropower to the upstate utilities since the commercial operation of St. Lawrence-FDR and Niagara projects in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Contracts under this arrangement have been extended a number of times over the years.

The current contracts expire at the end of this year.     

The action by the NYPA board followed four hearings that the Power Authority held in early September at the Niagara project, in Lewiston, and in Syracuse to obtain public comments on the continued sale of the hydropower for the upstate IOU residential use. 

 While there were no objections to the proposed contract extensions, varied opinions were expressed by the participants on the long-term use of the hydropower beyond 2010. This included the possibility of the low-cost power being utilized for economic development for creating and retaining jobs in the state.

 Following the trustees’ approval, the contracts will be sent to the Governor’s office for review and approval.

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-owned electric utility, with 18 generating facilities in various parts of New York State and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines.  ■    About 75 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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