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Maziarz: Canadian proposal threatens local power plants

File photo

A proposed power line from the Province of Quebec to New York City  threatens the future of Upstate power plants, according to the chairman of the State Senate Energy Committee.

Newfane Republican George Maziarz say he is worried about the futures of three power-generating plants in this area, especially the plant in Somerset which has already shut down and gone through bankruptcy.

The $2 billion proposal now before the Public Service Commission would send power south and into the Hudson River to go underwater into New York City, entering the river in Stony Point in Rockland County where Maziarz is holding a hearing on the project Tuesday.

Quebec exports large quantities of power from its vast hydro-electric resources which make it usually cheaper than power from plants which burn coal, oil, or gas.

Maziarz says the cheaper Quebec power could force plants in Dunkirk, the Town of Tonawanda, and Somerset out of business.

"It would basically, I think, be the death knell for upstate generators, particularly places like what's now called the Newco plant (the former AES plant in Somerset), Huntley [and] the Dunkirk generating station.  All of those would be severely negatively impacted by this," said Maziarz.

"You won't need in-state generation. It's bad for New York. It's bad to become dependent upon out-of-state, out-of-country power."

Maziarz says members of the public and a major union are concerned about the plan.

"They see it as a threat to New York jobs," he said.

There are limits on how much power could be sent to the eastern part of New York from this area because of an aging and inadequate power network, studied in a report delivered to Governor Cuomo yesterday.

The Public Service Commission is studying the proposal from Quebec-based Transmission Developers.


Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.