NYPA President Zeltmann Lauds Accord with Municipal Systems

Stephen Shoenholz

July 10, 2003


TUPPER LAKE—New York Power Authority (NYPA) President and Chief Executive Officer Eugene W. Zeltmann said Thursday night that NYPA and the state’s municipal electric systems are moving quickly to carry out a recent agreement that marks “the start of a bright new era in our relationship.”

Zeltmann noted that the agreement resolves major issues related to hydroelectric power rates and allocations and calls for cooperation between NYPA and the systems in such areas as economic development, electric transportation and energy efficiency.  

“The Power Authority’s trustees have met three times since we unveiled the agreement in April,” Zeltmann said at a meeting of the state Municipal Electric Utilities Association’s (MEUA) Northern Region systems.  “Each time they’ve taken a significant action to implement it.”

In addition, he said, all of the MEUA’s 46 members have signed the agreement, known as a Global Settlement.  The Northern Region municipal systems serve Boonville, Lake Placid, Massena, Philadelphia, Plattsburgh, Rouses Point, Theresa and Tupper Lake.

 “When you think of it, it’s really amazing how much the members of your association and the Power Authority—working together—have achieved in just a matter of months,” Zeltmann said.  NYPA has reached similar agreements with the City of  Jamestown, which does not belong to the MEUA, and the state’s four rural electric cooperatives.

In acting to put key parts of the agreements into effect, Zeltmann said NYPA trustees have:

  • Approved a four-year rate plan that will ensure that charges for hydroelectric “preference power” that the Power Authority supplies to the municipal systems and cooperatives and to other designated customers stay below one cent per kilowatt hour—probably the nation’s lowest rates—throughout that period.

  • Authorized funding of $1.2 million to finance purchases of clean electric and hybrid-electric vehicles by the municipal systems and cooperatives for use in their fleets and for educational purposes.

  • Approved holding a public hearing on proposed extensions from 2013 to 2025 of the municipal systems’ and cooperatives’ contracts for hydroelectric power from NYPA’s Niagara Power Project near Niagara Falls.  Following the hearing, scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 19 in NYPA’s White Plains office, Zeltmann said the Authority staff will ask the trustees to submit the proposed contract change to Gov. George E. Pataki for his consideration under state law.

Zeltmann said the extensions will depend on renewal of NYPA’s federal license for the Niagara Project, which he termed “absolutely crucial to all of us.”  The current license expires in 2007, and the municipal systems and cooperatives have pledged as part of their overall agreements to support the Authority’s application for a 50-year renewal.

Noting that NYPA is using an alternative relicensing process that provides for maximum public participation, Zeltmann urged the Northern Region systems to keep informed of developments.

“Even though a lot of work lies ahead, we think we’ve made a good start toward productive studies and discussions next year,” Zeltmann said.  “That will put us on track to submit our completed license application and environmental assessment to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in 2005.”

Meanwhile, he said, NYPA hopes to receive a new 50-year federal license this fall for its St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt hydroelectric project in Massena.

Zeltmann said the Power Authority has enabled customers served by municipal systems and cooperatives to participate in the Pataki Administration’s “Keep Cool” program that provides $35 “bounties” to New Yorkers exchanging old air conditioners for efficient Energy Star models. The deadlines for turning in air conditioners and applying for the bounties are July 31 and August 15, respectively.