Article

NYRI won't quit

New York Regional Interconnect Inc. is seeking help from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to revive plans for a large electrical transmission line from Marcy in Oneida County to New Windsor in Orange County. In two years of meetings and hearings, the proposed line was condemned by most local residents, officials and activists, who deemed it unnecessary, too expensive, and a threat to health and property values.

NYRI is not dead.

New York Regional Interconnect Inc. is seeking help from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to revive plans for a large electrical transmission line from Marcy in Oneida County to New Windsor in Orange County.

In two years of meetings and hearings, the proposed line was condemned by most local residents, officials and activists, who deemed it unnecessary, too expensive, and a threat to health and property values.

The firm persisted, saying its project would improve the flow of electricity in the state, particularly in the New York City area.

Earlier this year, however, NYRI ran into a rule made by the New York Independent System Operator, the agency which regulates the flow of electricity in the state. The NYISO rule provides that firms like NYRI, which build power lines, may bill electric company customers for their projects only with the power companies' consent.

As the River Reporter noted April 9, ``Under current NYISO rules, the cost of the power line could be passed along only if 80 percent of the utilities that would receive electricity from the line agreed to the arrangement.

"In the case of NYRI, those utilities would have included Con Edison, which... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

NYRI is not dead.

New York Regional Interconnect Inc. is seeking help from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to revive plans for a large electrical transmission line from Marcy in Oneida County to New Windsor in Orange County.

In two years of meetings and hearings, the proposed line was condemned by most local residents, officials and activists, who deemed it unnecessary, too expensive, and a threat to health and property values.

The firm persisted, saying its project would improve the flow of electricity in the state, particularly in the New York City area.

Earlier this year, however, NYRI ran into a rule made by the New York Independent System Operator, the agency which regulates the flow of electricity in the state. The NYISO rule provides that firms like NYRI, which build power lines, may bill electric company customers for their projects only with the power companies' consent.

As the River Reporter noted April 9, ``Under current NYISO rules, the cost of the power line could be passed along only if 80 percent of the utilities that would receive electricity from the line agreed to the arrangement.

"In the case of NYRI, those utilities would have included Con Edison, which serves New York City," the River Reporter added. "The problem was that Con Edison, which in the weighted system accounts for 21 percent of the utilities that would vote, had already declared that the NYRI project was unnecessary.''

After FERC declined to overturn the NYISO policy in March, NYRI withdrew its application from the state's Public Service Commission, which had been reviewing the proposal since last summer.

Project opponents celebrated, and NYRI's president Chris Thompson wrote that state rules for billing electrical ratepayers ``would create an unacceptable financial risk for NYRI's investors. The subsequent FERC denial of our request kept the rules in place, creating a situation where even if our project were to be sited by the PSC, NYRI would face the prospect of being unable to recover its costs for the transmission line.''

Yet, the firm is still seeking help from FERC.

On June 9, NYRI requested a time extension to file comments on NYISO's filing made in May, according to Barbara Connors of FERC.

The firm now has until July 9 to provide additional comments, she said Monday.

Rep. Michael Arcuri, D-Utica, has called on FERC not to reopen NYRI's case.

"I promised my constituents from Day One that I would remain vigilant to the tricks and underhanded attempts by NYRI to get their flawed power-line project approved against the will of the people of upstate New York,'' Arcuri said.

"The people of New York are not unfamiliar with this sort of attempted sleight of hand from NYRI," Arcuri wrote in his letter to FERC. "Unfortunately, NYRI refuses to accept what is obvious to everyone else _ that its project faces unanimous opposition and will not improve the transmission grid or ease congestion in New York state."

Leonard Singer of Albany, an attorney who represents the firm, said Monday that if FERC were to rule favorably for NYRI, the firm might proceed in seeking approval for its line. Asked whether NYRI would be tied to its previously preferred route, which would have skirted through the eastern section of Chenango County, Singer said no.

NYRI also has studied running its line parallel to the Marcy South electric line, which bisects Otsego and Delaware counties.

After years of fighting the line, activists have not let down their guard, Chris Rossi, co-chairwoman of STOP NYRI, said Monday.

"I think I had one month to relax, but we're still meeting, still monitoring this proposal,'' she said.

Rossi said the 2005 federal Energy Policy Act, which expanded the power of firms to build projects even over the objections of state regulators, means local residents must maintain their vigilance.

That act, which exempted gas drillers from some provisions of the Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water acts, also allows power-line builders to appeal state decisions to FERC, and in theory, to proceed over local objections, possibly with the use of eminent domain.


Source: http://www.thedailystar.com...

JUN 23 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/20799-nyri-won-t-quit
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