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Power plan set to Recharge NY economy

By: Jaleesa Baulkman |

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said last week new jobs will be created in New York as a result of the third round of Recharge New York, a program that utilizes power to retain and create jobs.

Recharge New York was created in an effort to spur economic development in “all corners” of the state by providing low-cost power to businesses and not-for-profit corporations that agree to create or retain jobs. Cuomo said he predicts an estimated 3,200 jobs will be created from this round of the program, which will allocate low-cost energy to 38 businesses.

“We’ve been working very hard for the last two years to turn around the state’s economy … there’s been economic challenges for us in the last [two] years and [there has been] economic challenges for the state in the last decade,” Cuomo said. “We’re trying to turn it around quickly and dramatically.”

Cuomo said this round of the program will allocate more than 29 megawatts to 38 businesses and these are the first allocations from the program to be directly tied to job creation and not just job retention. He said this will increase economic opportunity in New York which will in turn help better the state’s economy.

Cuomo said since energy costs are a major expense for employers across the state, the businesses participating in the program will be able to use the money they save with low-cost energy to expand their business and hire more workers.

The Recharge New York program awards or allocates 910 megawatts of low-cost energy to businesses statewide. Half of the low-cost power, 455 megawatts, is from the New York Power Authority’s Niagara and St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt hydroelectric projects, and will be awarded to companies and not-for-profits statewide to help expand their business and attraction. The remaining power will be reserved as “economical power secured by the [New York Power Authority] from market sources,” according to a press release.

Since 1 megawatt is enough power for meeting the electricity needs of 800 to 1,000 typical homes, Cuomo and NYPA expect this low-cost energy to positively impact many businesses.

“Recharge New York is a positive answer to what have plagued the state for a long time,” the governor said during a press conference last week announcing the new allocations.

Over the years, a number of efforts have been made to improve the state’s economy. One of those efforts, Power For Jobs, only provided short-term benefits for businesses.

NYPA President Gil C. Quinones said Power For Jobs only guaranteed power savings for one year at a time. Recharge New York is a seven-year power contract which is “what a company needs to plan and prosper.”

Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council worked with NYPA to select 38 companies to participate in the third round of this initiative. The chosen companies were selected based on job and capital investment commitments, the significance of the cost of electricity to the overall cost of running the business and their commitment to energy efficiency.

A spokesperson for NYPA said the state has agreed to contribute to these businesses’ long-term success as long as they agreed to expand their business and hire more employees.

Many of the businesses selected to participate in the third round of this program are businesses that are using large equipment that require a lot of electricity to run.

Michelle Burnett of DeIorio Foods, Inc., located in the Mohawk Valley, said her company is pleased that the state invested in her company. She said her business was in desperate need of capital help and low cost energy, and the low-cost energy has given her company the competitive edge they needed.

“We appreciate that New York state is investing in us,” she said. “I would like to thank the governor for helping us thrive with the state of New York.”

Burnett said the power program will save her company more than $1 million dollars and will allow her company to expand and hire 50 employees.

The newest round of low cost energy has been allocated to businesses in the Capital District, Central New York, Finger Lakes, Long Island, New York City, Western New York and Southern Tier regions.

The first two rounds of the Recharge New York power program, which occurred earlier this year, focused more on retaining jobs and generating substantial private investments. They helped retain nearly 380,000 jobs.

The first round of the power program allocated nearly 600 megawatts of energy to 517 businesses and not-for-profit corporations. The second round of the initiative allocated more than 80 megawatts to 161 businesses statewide.

To date, in the first three rounds of Recharge NY, NYPA administrators have awarded approximately 716 megawatts of power. Nearly 200 megawatts of low-cost energy still needs to be allocated.

Cuomo said although Recharge New York is a positive solution to New York’s current economic state it’s not a “perfect” one because it happens “episodically.”