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Growing opposition among law-makers to “The Cuomo Tax” – subsidising nuclear power

Lawmakers to grill regulators on upstate nuclear plant bailout plan, Lohud, Thomas C. Zambito ,  April 30, 2017 Town of Bedford Supervisor Chris Burdick says that since the town agreed to pay to take part in a state program that supports renewable energy, it should not be forced to subsidize failing upstate nuclear power plants. Seth Harrison/lohud

State lawmakers will get a second crack at grilling state energy regulators about a multi-billion dollar bailout plan for three upstate nuclear power plants that critics have dubbed “The Cuomo Tax.”

State Public Service Commission officials are expected to testify at a Monday Assembly hearing in Albany on a plan to subsidize three upstate nuclear plants through monthly surcharges on ratepayers’ electric bills over the next 12 years.

The last time the Assembly held a hearing on the issue, state officials were a no-show, to the dismay of lawmakers who considered blocking the plan until state regulators testified.

Among them is Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, D-Scarsdale.

I want to hear why we continue to bear ever more costs,” said Paulin, noting that New Yorkers already pay some of the highest utility rates in the nation. “We want some answers. It’s adding costs to our utility bills.”

State officials promised to attend Monday’s hearing, which will focus on the decision-making process that led the Public Service Commission to approve the Clean Energy Standard (CES) this summer. Interim PSC chairman Gregg Sayre is expected to testify.

……The bailout plan has attracted critics on a number of fronts. The “Stop the Cuomo Tax” campaign has pegged the total cost to ratepayers at $8 billion over 12 years. ……..

Towns challenge bailout

Several towns in northern Westchester County — North Salem, Bedford and Mamaroneck — joined a legal challenge of the CES this year. Officials say many of their residents already heeded the governor’s clean energy call by voluntarily agreeing to buy their electricity from renewable sources.

The “Stop The Cuomo Tax” campaign has taken out billboards and radio ads attacking the plan.

On Thursday, the campaign released figures claiming that New York utility ratepayers have already paying out approximately $1.37 million per day since the surcharges were tucked into bills on April 1. They say the money could have gone to hire 570 teachers or to forgive the student loans of 1,230 New Yorkers.

…….You don’t have to be an economist to realize that this is bad public policy,” said Blair Horner, the executive director of the New York Public Interest Research Group. “New York could be facing a significant budget shortfall if there are cuts in federal funding for state programs. Gov. Cuomo should be focused on supporting critical government programs, not lavishing ratepayer dollars on profitable businesses.”

The three plants are owned by Chicago-based Exelon Corporation……..


May 1, 2017 - Posted by | politics, USA

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