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It's Your Money: Proposed downstate power plant closing could impact local utility rates

Posted at: 04/05/2013 5:24 PM
Updated at: 04/05/2013 5:38 PM
By: Ray Levato

Hold onto your wallet. Your RG&E or NYSEG bill might be going higher. And it is not because local utilities are getting a rate hike, it has to do with the closing of a downstate power plant.

The Indian Point Power Plants are 310 miles away from Rochester in Westchester County. The Ginna Nuclear Power Plant has a bigger impact on the Rochester area. So why are we paying for the shutdown of Indian Point?

The state has a contingency plan to shut down the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plants 2 and 3 and that power would have to be replaced in the state's energy grid.
State Senator Ted O'Brien has gotten into the fight for upstate utility customers.

Sen. Ted O'Brien, (D)-55th District, said, “The extra burden on upstate ratepayers would be about $200 million. To me that's unfair.”

Sen. O'Brien says the New York State Public Service Commission has accelerated a plan proposed by the plant's owner, Con Ed, that would spread the $800 million cost of closing the plants statewide. O'Brien says this is the breakdown for upstate ratepayers. For RG&E and NYSEG customers alone, the bill would be more than $72 million.

News10NBC's Ray Levato said, “You're a democrat. Gov. Cuomo is a democrat. The Public Service Commission serves at the pleasure of the governor. Where does he stand on this?”

O'Brien said, “I don't think he's taken a position on this specific issue of whether it's fair to kind of break precedent and ask upstate ratepayers to pay.”
   
O'Brien has sent this letter to  PSC saying subsidizing downstate interests is putting a burden on the backs of upstate homeowners and businesses.
   
Michael Bloch represents the Penfield Chamber of Commerce.

Michael Bloch, Penfield Chamber of Commerce, said, “Businesses are impacted greatly by increased costs, especially energy. As their costs go up it mains they can't hire people maybe as much as they need them. So it does have an ongoing impact.”

News10NBC asked people outside RG&E headquarters what they think of this latest grab into their wallets and pocketbooks.

Wayne Kent said, “I don't think they should be spreading out the cost to us. It would be like if they were going to close Ginna. We'd be the ones responsible for paying that, right? It's our power plant.”

Gloria Hudgeon said, “That means I would be paying part of that cost? I don't like that. It doesn't sit well with me at all.”

The $800 million for Indian Point is to shut the two nuclear plants down and replace the electricity lost to the grid.

RG&E released a statement saying, “RG&E is aware of the state Public Service Commission's request for a contingency plan should the Indian Point generating plant be closed.  At this time, it's premature to estimate the potential impact this may have on RG&E customers."

There's been no comment yet from either the governor's office or the state Public Service Commission.

To voice your concern to the State Public Service Commission, you can call 1-800-335-2120.