NYPA Board Approves Low-Cost Niagara Allocation For Western New York Company

Connie Cullen

June 28, 2005        


WHITE PLAINS—Low-cost hydropower will help support nine new jobs and a capital investment of over $350,000 at Surmet Ceramics Corporation in Buffalo.

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) Trustees Tuesday approved an allocation of 900 kilowatts (kw) from NYPA’s Niagara Power Project to this Western New York manufacturer of advanced materials and coatings. The power will come from a block of 445,000 kilowatts known as replacement power, which helps support more than 43,000 jobs at over 100 companies in the region together with a second, smaller block of Niagara Power called expansion power (250,000 kw).

The Western New York Advisory Group, consisting of NYPA, Niagara Mohawk, the Empire State Development Corp., and the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise, recommends the new allocations of hydropower. In late 2003, the members of the group signed a Memorandum of Understanding for allocations of available Niagara power on a continuous basis.

Since the agreement, the Power Authority has made allocations to a total of 34 Western New York companies, including this allocation to Surmet Ceramics, approved at the trustee’s monthly meeting.

Surmet Ceramics is planning to create nine new positions as it purchases and refurbishes equipment to increase its manufacturing capabilities, in return for this lower-cost power.  The company also plans to install a high-temperature heat-treatment furnace.  In addition, it will be refurbishing manufacturing space throughout its plant.

Surmet manufactures advanced materials and coatings for Fortune 500 firms, technology-based enterprises and U.S. government agencies. Its products are used in the semiconductor equipment, biomedical, aerospace and defense industries.      

The 2,400,000-kw Niagara Project, in Lewiston, about five miles downstream from Niagara Falls, is one of the largest generating plants in the country. It provides some of New York State’s lowest cost power, along with a second NYPA hydroelectric project, the St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Project in Massena.