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Morelle criticizes extension of Power for Jobs

By THOMAS ADAMS - 5/19/2010 4:00:44 PM

State Assembly representative Joseph Morelle, D-Irondequoit, on Wednesday derided an agreement between Gov. David Paterson and leaders of the state Senate that would extend the Power for Jobs program.

The extension, Morelle said, takes low-cost hydropower from Rochester and Upstate New York and ships it downstate.

“It is unfair to force upstate residents to be the only ones paying for this statewide program,” Morelle, who represents the Assembly’s 132nd District, said in a statement. “This plan is unsound and I intend to do everything I can to protect local families.”

Paterson and Senate leaders, including Senate energy committee chairman George Maziarz, R-Newfane, announced the extension late Tuesday afternoon. The Assembly also must approve the agreement.

It would redeploy 455 megawatts from the Rural and Domestic Power Program into a 910 megawatt blended rate economic development program that will offer reduced rate power in seven-year contracts to businesses and institutions that meet selected criteria, Paterson and the Senate leaders said in a statement.

At least 300 of the 910 megawatts would be limited to service territories that served Rural and Domestic customers, including Rochester Gas and Electric Corp. and New York State Electric & Gas Corp. territories, the statement said.

“The current Rural and Domestic energy program benefits over 5 million upstaters—including all residential customers of RG&E, NYSEG and National Grid—through the purchase of cheaper hydropower,” Morelle said.

“This proposed shift would result in an increase of approximately $80 to $125 per year on the bill of the average RG&E residential customer.”

The extension was endorsed by Maziarz, whose 62nd District in the Senate stretches from Niagara County into Rochester, and by Empire State Development Corp. Chairman and CEO Dennis Mullen, a Pittsford resident.

It also was endorsed by Kenneth Adams, president and CEO of the Business Council of New York State Inc.

“We believe this proposal will help preserve and create good-paying jobs, will promote new capital and efficiency investments, and will result in significant economic returns to the state,” Adams said in the statement announcing the agreement.
 
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