Green Innovations

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Monday, March 22, 2010

NYS Governor Urges Legislative Leaders to Reform Power for Jobs Program

Governor David A. Paterson today urged for meaningful reform of the Power for Jobs program to protect existing jobs and create more opportunities for work in New York State. In a letter to Legislative Leaders, the Governor outlined the urgent need to reform the existing Power for Jobs and related programs, which have supported more than 300,000 existing jobs in New York, but have done little to attract new jobs to the State. Failure to produce comprehensive reform will cause the existing program benefits to expire, will put the livelihood of many in jeopardy, and will miss an opportunity to create thousands of new jobs.

The State's Power for Jobs and related low-cost power programs administered by the New York Power Authority (NYPA) will expire in less than two months. The program is considered one of the most critical job retention tools in New York, but year-to-year uncertainty created by the need to renew legislation undermines the ability to attract new business and jobs.

Current programs expire on May 15, 2010, and if no action is taken on new legislation prior to April 15, NYPA will need to begin notifying existing customers of the programs – which employ more than 300,000 New Yorkers – that their benefits will expire. The Governor's Office has been working with NYPA to develop a comprehensive reform proposal. Following a series of legislative roundtable discussions on the future of the Power for Jobs programs led by Assembly Energy Chair Kevin Cahill and then-Senate Energy Chair Darrel Aubertine, both houses have introduced bills that will create a permanent program. It is also expected that Senate Energy Chair George Maziarz will submit a proposal to create a permanent program. Based on the legislation submitted thus far, the respective bills share some common principles:

  • The annual one-year extensions of the Power for Jobs and Energy Cost Savings Benefit programs have not provided sufficient certainty to businesses to encourage new investment or expansion in New York.
  • A permanent program that provides long-term power contracts to eligible customers is necessary to stabilize existing businesses and institutions, promote economic growth, and create jobs for New Yorkers.
  • Using NYPA's low-cost hydropower is necessary to create a stable, long-term economic development program.
  • Impacts to residential customers who currently receive discounted power from NYPA should be mitigated.
The Governor's proposal would create a new statewide program called Energize New York, a 900 megawatt (MW) economic development program that would provide fixed price long-term power contracts to existing and new qualifying businesses and institutions in the State that agree to maintain minimum levels of employment and/or make investments in New York. At 900 MW, Energize New York would be approximately 30 percent larger than the existing Power for Jobs and Energy Cost Savings Benefit programs and would dedicate 200 MW for attracting new business investment and expansion in order to create thousands of new jobs. Current customers of the Power for Jobs and Energy Cost Savings Benefit programs would be allowed to continue their benefits at 2009 levels for one year while the new program is designed by NYPA. The new program would commence in 2011,and current customers as well as new businesses and institutions would be able to apply for long-term contracts.