North Country Power Authority Will Reduce Utility Rates

June 28, 2010

A bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell (D- Theresa) to create a Power Authority comprising 24 municipalities in St. Lawrence and Franklin counties has passed the Assembly (A.6694-D). The authority, being advocated for by the Alliance for Municipal Power (AMP), would give the North Country a better position in controlling electricity costs, Russell said.

The bill would open the door for the authority to purchase distribution lines from National Grid and start to implement necessary upgrades to the system that will allow for cheaper and smoother distribution of power. According to AMP, initial studies indicate the annual savings for ratepayers could be an average system-wide 4 percent rate reduction, although developments since that study indicate further reductions in rates are likely.

“My number one priority is and will always be the ratepayers of St. Lawrence County,” Russell said. “We need resources that will assist in economic development and growth. This bill is an excellent step in the right direction, and is an example of how we can take control of our own destiny and pull ourselves up out of our financial troubles.”

Robert Best, Chair of AMP said: “I want to thank Addie for her hard and diligent work getting this bill through the maze of Assembly committees. All the many who called, wrote and persuaded also deserve congratulation. This is a milestone for North Country energy consumers.”

Russell added that numerous accountability and oversight measures written into the bill would ensure that the authority acts in the best interests of the North Country. “Putting our municipal energy needs in local hands will help ensure that our communities come first – not the bottom lines of energy giants.” Russell said.

Russell noted that the bill is the product of over ten years of hard work from AMP in conjunction with state and local leaders, including Senator Darrel Aubertine, Senator Joseph Griffo, former Senator Jim Wright, and Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava.

“The hard work put into finalizing this legislation by all those involved will pay off for the ratepayers of St. Lawrence County,” Russell said. “I look forward to finally seeing all of the hard work translate into a benefit for our local ratepayers.”