Assembly Energy Committee Passes Power for Jobs Extender

Cahill calls on Senate & Governor to protect businesses & Upstate residents from high electricity costs
June 15, 2010

Albany – The Assembly Energy Committee passed a power for jobs extender (A. 11426) that will keep the program running until June 30th while a permanent solution is negotiated. Energy Committee Chair Kevin Cahill (D-Ulster, Dutchess) urged the Senate and the Governor to agree to the extender and return to the negotiation table. While all parties want sustainable Power For Jobs reform, the Assembly is working to ensure it does not come at the expense of upstate residents.

“I see no benefit in subjecting hundreds of businesses and not-for-profits to increased energy costs by refusing to act on this legislation,” said Assemblymember Cahill. “The Senate and the Governor need to come back to the table to work with the Assembly on a permanent Power For Jobs Program that does not rely on forcing upstate households and farms to give up their low cost electricity.”

Assemblymember Cahill noted that negotiations on a new program have stalled due to the insistence the Senate and Executive that any reform forces upstate New York residents to give up access to the low cost hydroelectric power they have relied on for well over half a century. The New York Power Authority (NYPA) has indicated they will not provide low-cost electricity benefits unless they are given the statutory authority, even though the Governor and NYPA have the ability to do so administratively.

The Assembly legislation (A11172) would give upstate households the option to relinquish the power voluntarily in return for energy conservation measures, in essence residents could help improve the economy and create jobs by participating in energy efficiency programs that will permanently lower their utility costs. This approach has been endorsed by consumer groups like AARP, the Public Utility Law Project and Consumers Union.

“We should be focused reforming Power For Jobs in ways that will create jobs without raising energy costs for households that are already struggling during these tough times,” said Assemblymember Cahill. “Instead of forcibly taking the benefit, we can give upstate New Yorkers the opportunity to save money on their electric bills while creating new economic opportunities in their communities.”