Power Authority Hydropower to Create 36 Jobs At Two Precision Machining Companies In Western New York

Michael Saltzman

December 14, 2004


ALBANY—The New York Power Authority (NYPA) Board of Trustees Tuesday approved low-cost hydropower allocations to two Western New York manufacturers of precision-machined components in return for commitments to create a total of 36 new jobs.

Curtis Screw Co. of Buffalo and PCB Now-Tech of Lackawanna will receive allocations from the Power Authority’s Niagara Power Project in support of plans to expand their manufacturing capacity and work forces.

“The allocations to Curtis Screw and PCB Now-Tech are a direct result of a collaborative effort led by Governor George E. Pataki for maximizing the potential of this great hydroelectric project to create jobs on the Niagara Frontier,” said Louis P. Ciminelli, NYPA chairman. “The allocations to these two manufacturers show this effort, involving businesses, utilities and economic development organizations, is working.”

Ciminelli noted that the allocations will come from a block of 445,000 kilowatts (kw) of Niagara power, called replacement power, that is reserved for manufacturers within a 30-mile radius of the project. (It combines with a second block of Niagara power, known as expansion power, for a total of more than 43,000 jobs at more than 100 Western New York companies receiving allocations.)

Curtis Screw, which manufactures components and assemblies for the automotive industry, will receive 1,450 kilowatts (kw) in return for adding 16 more jobs to its current work force of 260.

The company, which also has facilities in Connecticut and North Carolina, was founded in Buffalo in 1905. It’s planning to acquire at least 11 new machines and ancillary equipment, at a cost of $3.5 million, to facilitate its production of power steering racks for the Ford 150 (full-sized truck) and Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator SUVs.

The availability of the replacement power was a key factor in Curtis Screw’s decision to manufacture the racks in Buffalo instead of North Carolina.

PCB Now-Tech is slated for 200 kw of hydropower, for adding 20 jobs to its existing Lackawanna work force of 60. New equipment will increase the facility’s capacity for manufacture of machined components for the medical, aerospace and defense industries.

The Western New York Advisory Group, consisting of the Power Authority, Niagara Mohawk, Empire State Development Corp. and the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise, recommended the allocations for Curtis Screw and PCB Now-Tech. Late last year, the members of the group signed a Memorandum of Understanding for allocations of available Niagara power on a continuous basis to maximize the economic development benefits of the Niagara Project.

Since the agreement, the Power Authority has made allocations from the project to a total of 23 Western New York companies, including the latest two.

The 2,400,000-kw Niagara Project, which first produced power in 1961, is the biggest electricity producer in New York State. It provides some of the lowest cost power available, along with a second NYPA hydroelectric facility, the St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Project.