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Lawmakers grill Cuomo officials on nuclear power plant bailout

WRVO Assembly Democrats grilled Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s energy officials for more than four hours Monday about a plan executed by the Public Service Commission and a major energy company that will keep three upstate nuclear power plants alive for the next 12 years.

Utility ratepayers, mostly from downstate, will pay for the deal through a surcharge on their bills.

Assemblyman Steve Englebright, chairman of the Environmental Committee, said he’s “very disappointed” in what he said was an opaque process hastily decided last summer that ratepayers ultimately will have to finance…….

The hearing will likely not result in any changes to keeping the nuclear power plants open. The state already has signed contracts with the energy company Exelon and handed over the plants’ operating licenses on April 1.

Gregg Sayre, Cuomo’s interim Public Service Commission chair, testified about the 2016 decision to have the state pay nearly $8 billion to keep the FitzPatrick, Nine Mile Point and Ginna nuclear power plants open. He said it was in part dictated by the timetable of the energy companies who own the plants………

Audrey Zibelman, the former head of the PSC who oversaw the deal, left for a job in Australia earlier this year and has not yet been replaced……..

Englebright also questioned what he said is the “profound contradiction” of the state propping up the over 40-year-old plants in the Oswego and Rochester areas, while moving to close the Indian Point Nuclear Plant in Westchester, citing potential dangers……

Cuomo has said that keeping the Indian Point plant open defies “basic sanity” because of inherent risks. That plant will close in 2021.

Other Assembly members complained about the extra charges that ratepayers will have to finance from the rescue deal for the three plants. Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz represents portions of the Bronx, which he said includes a large number of low-income people who will be unfairly burdened by the deal…..


May 3, 2017 - Posted by | politics, USA

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