Extension of hydropower business discounts officially announced in Ogdensburg
Wednesday, September 29, 2010 - 3:02 pm

OGDENSBURG – State legislators and the New York Power Authority CEO were at Basta’s Flower Shop this morning to announce that electric power allocated but not used by Alcoa will be distributed to continue to save 3,500 businesses and farms what has been about nine percent on their power costs.

NYPA says that since the beginning of the program about a year ago, roughly 3,500 commercial and industrial businesses and dairy farms have each received, on average, $1,200 in savings on electricity, or an average of about nine percent less in cost.

Power Authority Chairman Richard Kessel announced Tuesday that the authority’s board had approved the distribution for up another year, so long as production at the Alcoa East smelter in Massena is curtailed.

The program is an agreement by NYPA, National Grid and NYSEG that applies monthly credits averaging nine percent to the electric bills of eligible customers. Among the beneficiaries of the temporary program are Corning, Inc. and St. Lawrence University in Canton and Clarkson University and North Country This Week in Potsdam.

State Sen. Darrel Aubertine said, “This program has successfully directed unallocated power to extend a real savings to our businesses, including our dairy farmers who have been struggling with low milk prices.

“The hydro-electric dam in our own backyard provides the authority with low cost power and this program ensures that the benefits stay in our own communities to stimulate our economy and create jobs,” Aubertine said.

NYPA trustee and Massena resident Eugene Nicandri said, “I am pleased to support the extension of this temporary power discount program that has proven itself to be critical in the Power Authority’s efforts to support businesses and dairy farmers during this economic downturn.

“Until such time as Alcoa begins to draw down this power for the operations at its East Plant, I will continue to advocate for those specific hydropower resources generated at the St. Lawrence-FDR Power Plant to be used in support of employers in the northern New York region,” Nicandri said.

“Small businesses have had a very rough time over the past few years and programs like this certainly help us with our every day expenses,” said Joe Basta, owner of Basta’s Flower Shop, where the event was held. “It’s something that’s been able to help us and gives us a psychological edge knowing that there is a program helping us. With the support of the Power Authority and these programs, it really helps us in these difficult times.”