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Cortland County Boat Manufacturer To Expand Operations Thanks To Low-Cost Hydropower

Michael Saltzman

December 16, 2008


UTICA—New York Power Authority (NYPA) President and Chief Executive Officer Richard M. Kessel today announced that a new hydropower allocation will support a boat manufacturer’s plans for expanding its operations in the Cortland County Village of Marathon, which is expected to result in 15 new jobs.

The allocation, approved Tuesday by the NYPA Board of Trustees, will help to advance a $400,000 expansion by Marathon Boat Group, which manufactures various models of canoes and fishing boats. The Power Authority board allocated 100 kilowatts (kw) of hydropower to the Marathon electric system on behalf of Marathon Boat Group under the Municipal and Rural Cooperative Economic Development Program.

“The allocation to the Village of Marathon is the first we’ve made under the Municipal and Rural Cooperative Economic Development Program since revising the program’s guidelines in September to make more businesses eligible for the low-cost power,”  said Kessel. “This allocation demonstrates how the new flexible and broadened eligibility standards can help our municipal and rural electric cooperative customers best meet the needs of business in their service areas.”

Kessel noted that the minimum allocation under the revised guidelines was lowered to 100 kw from 200 kw, making possible the allocation for Marathon Boat Group.  The revisions also expand the eligible businesses beyond manufacturers to those engaged in such enterprises as research and development, agriculture, and warehousing and distribution services.

The Village of Marathon will experience increased demand for power as the Marathon Boat Group purchases new equipment and machinery for its expansion.  The company, which currently employs 16 people, expects to nearly double its workforce over the next three years.

“This is a pivotal time for our business, as we capitalize on opportunities to expand and add to our manufacture of different models of boats,” said Douglas Potter, president, Marathon Boat Group. “We’re grateful to the Village of Marathon and the Power Authority for supporting us with the low-cost hydropower, which is going to reinforce our expansion plans and keep them on track.”  

The boat manufacturing facility has been in Marathon since 1952 during which time it has gone through several ownership changes.  

The Village of Marathon is one of 12 communities in the state with munis and coops that obtain all of their electricity from NYPA. The remaining 39 publicly-owned electric systems in the state are partial-requirement customers. Most of the power benefiting the 51 systems is produced by the Niagara Power Project, which provides some of the least-cost electricity in the country.

The Municipal and Rural Cooperative Economic Development Program, which makes available 54,000 kw of hydropower, is part of a larger block of nearly 765,000 kw that the municipal and rural cooperatives receive from the Niagara project as preference customers under federal law.  With Tuesday’s action, 33,815 kw are still available for allocation for those systems under the economic development program.     

Economic development is a key element of long-term hydropower contracts that NYPA has with the munis and coops through 2025 at cost-based rates. Other facets of the partnership include energy efficiency measures to further lower utility bills and support for purchase of clean electric-drive vehicles by the systems to combat greenhouse gas emissions and reduce dependence on imported oil.

The Municipal and Rural Cooperative Economic Development Program is one of nine lower cost power allocation programs that NYPA administers for economic development in the state.  The programs are directly linked to more than 440,000 jobs at nearly 800 businesses and non-profit organizations.

  About NYPA:

■    NYPA uses no tax money or state credit.  It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity.  ■    NYPA is a leader in promoting energy-efficiency, new energy technologies and electric transportation initiatives.  ■    It is the nation’s largest state-owned electric utility, with 18 generating facilities in various parts of the state and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines.

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