PSC considering huge Quebec to NYC renewable energy project and we’ll pay for part of it
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Right now the state’s Public Service Commission is considering a massive project to get hydroelectricity from the province of Quebec to New York City.
The plan says we all pay for part of it.
Hydropower is considered green and clean and it goes to the most densely populated area of the state.
The Champlain Hudson Power Express will bury lines from Quebec, under Lake Champlain and along the Hudson River to New York City.
"The way it is proposed to work is that the whole state will pay for the cost of these projects in their energy bills," said Richard Berkley, executive director of the Public Utility Law Project of New York.
Berkley advocates for poor and senior homeowners.
The Champlain Hudson Power Express says according to NYSERDA, the state energy research and development authority if the project is approved and after it’s built which will take three years, homeowners Upstate will see a potential increase in their bills of 3% on the low end and 8% on the high end.
Brean: "The bottom line is all of this energy is going to New York City but every single homeowner and business owner is going to bear some of this cost."
Berkley: "Yeah, you and I both will see this in our energy bills in the not too distant future."
That’s a tough proposition considering the bills people are getting now.
"Okay, this is the one for February," said Rachael Robak of Keuka Park, Yates County as she held up her NYSEG bill.
Robak’s bill in January was $389. The bill in February? $857. Her bills show it was the supply charge increases.
"If it’s that plus additional increases from what the folks in New York City are going to benefit from, it’s a little rough for upstate New York to swallow," she said.
Brean: "Is there any benefit to people who live in the Rochester area that this project will bring?"
Berkley: "The complicated benefit is that New York City pays the bills for the rest of the state. The tax revenues that come into the city are redistributed around the state in the same way that New York’s tax revenues as a state are given to the rest of the country. In addition, the state has to collectively bear the cost that is the burden of lowering our carbon footprint. You can agree or disagree with that but that’s our state policy now. The more of it that gets done through New York City the less that has to be done in the rest of the state."
The cost-sharing idea is called "Tier 4." It’s relatively new and was used recently to get New York City ratepayers to fund part of upstate power plant projects.
A statement from The Champlain Hudson Power Express today says "This week, New Yorkers across the state saw their energy bills skyrocket as natural gas prices nearly doubled — CHPE will bring clean, reliable fixed price energy, and a full analysis shows that energy bills in Rochester and across the state will be higher in the future if this project is not approved by the PSC."
The Public Service Commission is accepting comments. It currently has more than 17,000 comments.
The number is 1-800-335-2120. Mention "Tier 4 and/or Case 15-E-0302."
Click here to file a comment on the PCS’s website.