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Bi-partisan cooperation on Recharge New York

By Eileen Buckley & Ashley Hassett

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wbfo/local-wbfo-963350.mp3

North Tonawanda, NY – Governor Andrew Cuomo made good on a promise to some local leaders.

The Governor appeared Thursday morning at Ascension Industries in North Tonawanda for a ceremonial signing of the Recharge New York bill into law. It is the expansion of the old Power for Jobs program that allocated low-cost power to various companies in the state.

Governor Cuomo said he would come to sign the bill in Niagara County, if it was passed.

"One of my top priorities is to bring jobs to New York, and this program is one way to get that done," Governor Cuomo said.

Cuomo praised local members of the Western New York delegation from both sides of the isle for getting the Recharge New York bill passed.

Ascension has used the low cost power to help grow to 135-employees.

"Recharge New York delivers savings and stability to businesses in the state so they can expand and innovate while providing good jobs for hard-working New Yorkers. Recharge New York is a prime example of how New York is open for business," said Governor Cuomo

Recharge New York offers seven-year contracts for low-cost power and is backed by a dedicated block of sustainable hydropower. The Recharge New York Power Program:

Provides 910 MW of power for participants in the program

Is supported by 455 MW of hydroelectric power, a clean, cost-effective and stable source of energy, and 455 MW of market power

Reserves at least 350 MW of the program for upstate businesses and institutions

Reserves at least 200 MW for business attraction and expansion Reserves up to 100 MW for not-for-profits

The current Power for Jobs program provided discounts for power to approximately 500 businesses, employing nearly 300,000 people in the state.

Under Recharge New York, companies will be awarded power contracts based on capital investment commitments, job retention and creation, consistency with regional economic development council priorities, and other factors. Businesses participating in the program must also demonstrate a commitment to maximizing energy efficiency.

Senator George Maziarz, Chairman of the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee, said, "The best use of low-cost hydropower is to retain and create jobs."

Assemblyman Robin Schimminger, Chair of the Assembly's Economic Development Committee, said, "Ascension Industries, like many other businesses, participated in the Power for Jobs Program. But participating industries noted that the program was flawed with its year-to-year power agreements that made it difficult to plan for future expansions. We listened to those concerns and we are here today to spread the word that Power for Jobs has been "reinvented."

Assemblyman Jim Hayes, Ranking Member of the Assembly's Ways and Means Committee, said, "Recharge New York will be a powerful tool to energize job growth in Western New York. Our low-cost Niagara hydropower should be a major natural advantage for our region -- and electricity provided to businesses through Recharge New York will help assure that we put that advantage to work creating jobs for our people. This is an excellent example of what can be accomplished for New York when the Legislature and Governor work together for everyone's benefit."

You can click the above audio to hear Senator Maziarz and Governor Cuomo speaking at Ascension.