Statement by Eugene W. Zeltmann, President and Chief Executive Officer, New York Power Authority

Stephen Shoenholz

August 14, 2003


Reports that Thursday's power outage was caused by a lightning strike at the New York Power Authority's (NYPA) Niagara hydroelectric project in Lewiston were totally erroneous.

The 2,400-megawatt (mw) Niagara Project not only was not struck by lightning, but it continued to operate throughout the outage. For several hours after the outage began, Niagara, the state's largest power generator, and NYPA's 800-mw St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt hydro project in Massena were the only major power plants operating in New York State.

They remained in service when the outage began because, as large hydroelectric projects, they were able to withstand the shock to the power system. Other types of power plants are not equipped to do so.

Niagara and St. Lawrence-FDR operated continuously throughout the outage, generally at close to their maximum capacity.

Shortly after 7 p.m., the Power Authority's Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Power Project in Schoharie County resumed partial operation. As of about 10 p.m., the Power Authority was meeting close to 45 percent of the state's total electricity load, with Niagara supplying 2,449 megawatts, above its rated output; St. Lawrence-FDR producing 902 mw and the 1,040-mw Blenheim-Gilboa project generating 426 mw. In addition, NYPA small hydroelectric projects in various parts of the state were producing a total of 17 mw.