Today, Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, Chair of the Assembly Energy Committee, called the passage of his legislation (A.9039 / S.6031) continuing the Power for Jobs and Energy Cost Savings Benefit Programs critical for New York's economic health. He urged the New York Power Authority to immediately begin administering benefits to the 560 entities participating in the programs. The Authority had suspended the administration of the programs on July 1st.
"These economic development power programs have been instrumental in protecting and helping to create hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the state," said Assemblyman Cahill. "The Power Authority must act immediately to administer assistance to the hundreds of businesses, not-for-profits and manufacturers relying on low cost power incentives."
Cahill also released letters to Governor Paterson, New York Power Authority President Richard Kessel and key leaders in New York's energy industry calling on them to work with him on short and long term low cost power solutions for New York employers. Pointing to a need for economic stability for the companies served by the power programs, Cahill asked the private sector to come forth with alternatives and called any delay in providing assistance to participating customers unacceptable.
"New York's ability to retain and attract new businesses would be severely diminished without these important tools for making energy more affordable to power intensive businesses," said Assemblyman Cahill. "First and foremost, we need to get assistance flowing again. Then we need to make sure that we have a new program developed and acted on by May 2010 so we can avoid the pitfalls associated with waiting until the end of the legislative session."
"This legislation gives the hundreds of businesses relying on these programs the assurance that their benefits will continue through next year," said Assemblyman Cahill. "The bill not only continues these economic development programs, it also jumpstarts the process of creating a long term low cost power program that will give businesses the certainty they need to make the serious investments to create the jobs we need here in New York."
"Thee programs need reform; simply extending them for another year, as we have done for the past three years, is not the answer," said Assemblyman Cahill. "The Assembly is committed to moving ahead with serious discussions with all stakeholders about creating a viable, attractive long term program that will encourage new development in New York."
Assemblyman Cahill announced that before the Legislature reconvenes for 2010 session, the Assembly Energy Committee will hold hearings across New York to develop a permanent economic development power program. The hearings will examine all issues related to the Power for Jobs and Energy Cost Savings Benefit Programs, as well the incentives linked to the New York Power Authority's St. Lawrence - FDR and Niagara hydro-projects.
Key Provisions of the Legislation:
Extends the Power for Jobs and Energy Cost Savings Benefit Programs for ten and a half months through May 15, 2010;
requires that the Power Authority in coordination with the Department of Economic Development provide reports by December 30, 2009 detailing the information necessary to assess the existing low cost power programs and the resources available going forward along with a review of the performance of all program participants to date;
requires that a representative sample of all beneficiaries of the Authority's low cost power programs undergo an Authority funded comprehensive energy audit, exempting those participants who have undergone such audits within the last five years;
requires the Power Authority to issue a report to the Governor and the Legislative Leaders on the energy audit program by February 28, 2010; and
provides for expedited renewal of the benefits provided under these programs.
"Speaker Silver and the Assembly understand how vital low cost power programs are to the success of New York's economy. That is why we are committed to ensuring the continued success of Power for Jobs while building upon that success to create a new, permanent program in the coming year," Assemblyman Cahill concluded.
Below are the letters:
July 9, 2009
Honorable David Paterson, Governor State of New York State Capitol Executive Chamber Albany, New York 12224
Richard Kessel, President and Chief Executive Officer New York Power Authority 123 Main Street White Plains, New York 10601-3170
Dear Governor Paterson and Mr. Kessel:
I write regarding the recent suspension of the administration of the benefits provided under the Power for Jobs and Electric Cost Savings Benefit Programs. As you well know, the entities served by these programs are critically important to New York's economy, particularly at a time when we are seeking to stabilize employment. I urge you to use all the resources at your disposal to find ways to assist these organizations until the uncertainties that have enveloped the State Senate are resolved.
The cost of electricity has a significant effect on economic development, employment levels and decisions to retain, attract or expand businesses. With New Yorkers currently paying among the highest prices in the nation, it is clear that the anticipated benefits of the electricity market restructuring in the 1990s have yet to materialize. The Power Authority's economic development power programs have been instrumental in protecting and helping to create hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the state. New York's ability to retain and attract new businesses is severely diminished without these important tools for making energy more affordable to power intensive businesses. We simply cannot afford a sudden dearth of assistance at this critical economic juncture.
The Power for Jobs and Energy Cost Savings Benefit Programs efforts to allay energy costs for businesses, not-for-profits and manufacturers have been exceptionally effective. In the current year, 560 entities, representing over 300,000 employees, have been served by these programs. Participants have repeatedly warned that the absence of low cost power assistance would have serious ramifications for the health of New York's already struggling economy. The loss of these important benefits would not only be detrimental to the direct beneficiaries, but also to the communities that depend on their continued success and contribution to the local tax base to support local businesses and the provision of essential services.
When members of our respective staffs met earlier this week to discuss the status of the low cost power programs, representatives of the Authority expressed concerns over moving forward with continued assistance to companies served by the Power for Jobs and Energy Cost Savings Benefit Programs. They suggested that it may take as long as two months to reinstate a participant's status as a customer of the Authority. Such a delay is unacceptable; the Authority and Executive agencies involved must find a way to address these matters in a more expeditious manner.
As you are both aware, getting through these tumultuous times will require bold and extraordinary measures. Each of you has exhibited a willingness and ability to take such actions and I hereby call upon you to recognize the need to do so here as well. I urge you to immediately devise a way to continue and restore benefits for these most worthy Power Authority customers. Moving expeditiously to provide a bridge of stability for these companies will encourage their sustained investment in our economy. This is exactly the kind of leadership New Yorkers need right now. My office will be contacting you in the coming days to arrange a meeting to discuss solutions to the short and long term challenges before us. I look forward to your cooperation in working with us to resolve these matters.
Kevin A. Cahill
Chair of the Assembly Energy Committee
July 9, 2009
Kevin Burke, President and CEO
4 Irving Place, Room 1605
New York, New York 10003
Kevin Lanahan, Acting Director
111 Washington Avenue, Suite 601
Albany, New York 12210
William Flynn, Vice President
111 Washington Avenue
Albany, New York 12210
Stephen Whitley, President and CEO
Independent System Operator
10 Krey Boulevard
Rensselaer, New York 12144
Kevin Law, President and CEO
Long Island Power Authority
333 Earle Ovington Blvd, Suite 403
Uniondale, New York 11553
Jim Laurito, President and CEO
New York State Electric and Gas
Rochester Gas and Electric
Post Office Box 5600
Ithaca, New York 14852
I write regarding the recent suspension of the administration of the benefits provided under the Power for Jobs and Electric Cost Savings Benefit Programs. Recent events in the New York State Senate lent an air of uncertainty to a program that demands predictability. Accordingly, we ask you to join us to create new and innovative ways to assist the entities served by these programs. It is not an overstatement to declare that New York's economy depends on these employers of over 300,000 people. As industry leaders, I implore you to work together to develop low cost power alternatives that serves to assure the stability these institutions need to sustain their investments in our state.
As you know, the high cost of electricity in New York has a significant effect on economic development, employment levels and decisions to retain, attract or expand businesses. The New York Power Authority's economic development power programs have been instrumental in protecting and helping to create hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the state. In the current year, 560 entities have been served by these initiatives. Participants have repeatedly warned that the absence of low cost power assistance would have serious ramifications for New York's already struggling economy, a prospect we simply cannot afford to entertain at this critical juncture.
The Assembly has been working diligently to assure the continued presence of low cost power incentives in New York. We acted on legislation that not only extends the programs through next year but also sets the stage for reform. We recognize that simply extending them for another year, as we have done for the past three years, is not the answer. The Assembly is committed to moving forward with serious discussions about a real solution, one that will encourage new development in New York. Our legislation was designed to provide us with the tools to have that discussion and to forge a viable, attractive long term program. The Assembly Energy Committee has committed to holding hearings and collaborating with all interested stakeholders across New York to develop a permanent economic development power program.
While we continue our work toward a forward looking solution, the need to forge a partnership to address the current crisis is immediate. Your respective organizations are uniquely situated to provide timely and much needed low cost power opportunities to the entities that have come to rely on the Power Authority's critical programs. The impact of the suspension of the Power for Jobs and Energy Cost Savings Benefit Programs is already being felt by businesses, not-for-profits and manufacturers across the state and it will get significantly worse unless bold actions are taken immediately. The absence of this assistance will not only hurt the direct beneficiaries, but also the communities, business and enterprises, such as yours, that depend on their continued success.
New Yorkers need leaders to step up and fill the void. By collaborating and acting quickly you each can help rescue our State from a potentially disastrous economic situation. Though the prospect of a private sector solution to this current economic crisis is counter to much of what we have come to expect in these times, I am confident that working together, we can plow new ground for a new era of cooperation in the great State of New York. My office will be contacting you in the coming days to arrange a meeting to discuss solutions to the short and long term challenges before us. I look forward to your cooperation in working with us to resolve these matters.
Kevin A. Cahill
Chair of the Assembly Energy Committee