Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

May 22, 2013

LETTER: NYPA a drag on state's economy

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Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — To his credit, Republican Assemblyman John Ceretto recently petitioned Gov. Andrew Cuomo for release of New York Power Authority “profits” from its Niagara Power Project with which to promote tourism and business in Western New York. New York City’s debt-ridden public transit and housing have long enjoyed the major portion of NYPA “profits.” The City of Jamestown among other municipal electric systems enjoy low-cost NYPA electric power under the federal preference clause.

While most New York Stat electric customers pay the fourth highest electric rates in America unlike the six remaining investor-owned electric utilities in New York state, the NYPA pays taxes to none and is accountable to none. The taxpayer rip-off by New York state further deepens its financial woes, which its most recent TV ad panic attack will do nothing to lessen.

New York state’s move to take over its investor-owned electric utilities moved into high gear after June 7, 1956 when the Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation (Now National Grid) caved in its long struggle with liberal Democrats and establishment Republicans in Congress to redevelop Niagara power.

On June 7, 1956 a rockslide destroyed the 25-cycle generating capacity of Niagara Mohawk’s Schoellkopf hydroelectric power plant. The epicenter of the 1949 Niagara Falls earthquake passed directly through the Schoellkopf power plant. Miraculously, 41 Niagara Mohawk employees on duty during the rockslide escaped. One man did not. Robert Draper’s body was recovered near the Whirlpool rapids one month later. Charges of criminal negligence and manslaughter were never filed.

Unless we New York state taxpayers demand accountability form our elected assemblymen and state senators to rein in Albany’s insatiable greed for our tax dollars and advancement of people control legislation, New York state will soon be caught in a financial rockslide of its own making.

Eric Heim Lockport