NY Power Authority CEO and CNY Officials announce financial incentive to support jobs at owl wire & Cable

Michael Saltzman

April 16, 2010

Photo and Caption


ROME—New York Power Authority (NYPA) President and Chief Executive Officer Richard M. Kessel was joined Friday by Assemblywoman RoAnn M. Destito, Senator David J. Valesky and Senator Joseph A. Griffo at Owl Wire & Cable’s manufacturing facility to announce NYPA funding to assist the company in managing its high electricity costs and fortify its commitment to maintaining operations in New York State.
A long-time Mohawk Valley employer, Owl Wire is an energy-intensive manufacturer with facilities in Rome, Boonville and Canastota that is seeking to contain its operating costs in the face of the downturn in the national economy.  The Power Authority is providing up to $700,000 as an Industrial Incentive Award (IIA) to help ensure Owl Wire’s retention of the 172 jobs.

“We recognize the importance of Owl Wire’s remaining a vital part of Central New York’s economy and are glad to help support its competitive operation in anticipation of business conditions improving,” Kessel said. “The economic development initiative that made the financial support possible is intended for manufacturers that might otherwise be lured to other states offering economic development incentives of their own.  NYPA’s Industrial Incentive Awards demonstrate how New York State is finding innovative and creative measures to keep businesses here."

"In these trying economic times, energy-intensive manufacturers are struggling to lower their electricity bills, which can account for a significant portion of overall costs of operation," Michael J. Townsend, NYPA chairman, said. "The Industrial Incentive Award Program is one of the initiatives the Power Authority is utilizing to respond to the situation, as exemplified by the assistance to Owl Wire & Cable. The financial support will help sustain this key Central New York employer and the jobs of its work force."

“Owl Wire and our employees greatly appreciate the consideration extended to us with the Industrial Incentive Award from the New York Power Authority,” said Robert J. Raiti, President, Owl Wire. “In addressing our electricity costs, the award will help us to maintain a competitive posture and support our company’s growth potential as the economy starts to rebound. This is a great example of government and business coming together to invest in the future of an enterprise that is extremely important to Central New York.”    

“Owl Wire has a 55-year history in our region and, as an employer of many of my constituents, is very important to our Mohawk Valley economy,” Assemblywoman Destito said.  “I want to thank Governor Paterson and the Power Authority for recognizing the imperative of helping to lower the company’s electricity costs during this difficult economic time.  The Industrial Incentive Award will protect Owl Wire’s existing work force and help put the company in a better position for the future.”

"Creating and retaining jobs is key to our economic recovery as a region, and companies like Owl Wire and Cable are the backbone of our economy," Senator Valesky (D-Oneida) said. "By taking the initiative to provide support, New York State through NYPA is showing its commitment to the manufacturing industry and economic development in the region."

“The financial support being provided by the Power Authority for Owl Wire underscores the importance of this manufacturer to Central New York,” Senator Griffo said.  “It is encouraging to see this kind of proactive approach utilized by the Industrial Incentive Award program to support a company that is under significant pressure to lower its costs. We commend NYPA President Richard Kessel and his board for their work and I appreciate Bob Raiti of Owl Wire for their continued presence in our community.”

The IIA grant will take the form of a discount on Owl Wire’s electric rate for one year, as applied to an annual level of electricity consumption agreed to by the company, which has electric bills of millions of dollars a year. The benefits began with the company’s February bills.     

Owl Wire, whose cost of electricity is a significant portion of total production costs, manufactures bare and plated copper wire for the telecommunications, computer, electronics, welding and mining industries throughout North America. The company may be eligible to renew its Industrial Incentive Award after one year provided it continues to meet its commitment to maintain the 172 jobs in Rome, Boonville and Canastota.
The Power Authority Trustees approved the IIA earlier this year following a recommendation by the New York State Economic Development Power Allocation Board (EDPAB). EDPAB makes recommendations to NYPA in connection with various statewide economic development power programs administered by the Authority.

At a meeting last September, the NYPA Trustees approved the implementation of an Industrial Incentive Award Economic Development Plan to provide electric bill discounts to qualified New York manufacturers at risk of relocating out-of-state or closing as a result of the economic downturn in return for New York job commitments. 

The economic development plan has resulted in IIAs of more than $12.2 million linked to about 3,500 jobs. Among those previously approved for awards are International Wire Group in Oneida and Madison Counties, another manufacturer of wire products; Nucor Steel Auburn in Cayuga County; and the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. in support of waterfront redevelopment efforts the agency is spearheading at Buffalo’s inner and outer harbors.

In addition to the IIA, Owl Wire benefits from the Power Authority’s Energy Cost Savings Benefit (ECSB) program at the company’s main facility, in Canastota, where all of its administrative business functions are located.  Under the ECSB program and another statewide initiative called Power for Jobs, NYPA provides lower-cost power purchased from the wholesale marketplace. The two programs, which are due to expire next month, are linked to more than 21,000 Central New York jobs and approximately 315,000 jobs throughout the state.

Owl Wire’s facility in Boonville benefits from an additional NYPA program involving low-cost hydropower, which is provided through the Authority’s Industrial Economic Development Power Program. That facility receives an allocation as a customer of the Boonville municipal electric system, one of 51 community-owned electric systems in the state that receive NYPA hydropower under federal law.  The Boonville facility, a state-of-the-art plant with the latest technologies that was opened in 2007, employs 23 people
Owl Wire, a Marmon Wire & Cable/Berkshire Hathaway company, is the second largest domestic producer of uninsulated copper wire and cable products. 

Empire State Development Mohawk Valley Regional Director Kenneth Tompkins said:  “As a premier manufacturer that has long called Upstate New York its home, Owl Wire is a key contributor to the Mohawk Valley’s diverse economy.  NYPA’s Industrial Incentive Awards are certainly an effective means of partnering with energy intensive businesses, as well as protecting jobs and enhancing our region’s competitiveness.  I’m pleased that New York State and its companies are working together to strengthen the Upstate New York manufacturing base.”

Steven J. Dimeo, president, Mohawk Valley Economic Development Growth Enterprises (EDGE), said:  “The still weak economy is challenging businesses and government to redouble their efforts to retain and create jobs.  NYPA’s Industrial Incentive Award program embodies this approach, which is being applied to Owl Wire & Cable to ensure that this key Central New York employer remains an essential part of our local economy for many years to come.  I want to thank Governor Paterson, the Power Authority Trustees and NYPA President Kessel for their support of this valued employer and the other things that they’re doing to lower electricity costs in the region.”   

Randy Wolken, president, Manufacturers Association of Central New York (MACNY), said, "I would like to congratulate both NYPA and Owl Wire on this exciting announcement. Owl Wire is a long-time manufacturer with deep roots in this region. I am grateful NYPA is recognizing their ongoing commitment to jobs and investment here in New York State.  Today's announcement will allow Owl Wire to make capital investments and other long-term commitments that allow them to remain competitive in New York State."


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. ■ More than 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, www.nypa.gov.


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