Feb. 17, 2006
County's Power for Progress Program Provides Employers and Local Governments a $3 Million Advantage
At a time when all of us are worried about the high costs of energy, Oswego County's Power for Progress made a significant impact on our local economy last year. Local businesses and municipal governments saved more than $3 million in energy costs - helping to secure 177 existing jobs and creating 144 new jobs in Oswego County.
What is Power for Progress?
It's a unique program that allocates energy produced at the James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant to eligible businesses, employers and municipalities in Oswego County. The county's tax agreement with Entergy Nuclear Northeast requires Entergy to provide up to 10 megawatts of electricity at $32 per megawatt-hour each year from 2005 to 2010. The price is well below current market rates. In order to be eligible, businesses must use a minimum of 100,000 kilowatt-hours annually, and must create new jobs or be in danger of losing existing jobs.
The goal of the program is to help businesses expand and create jobs in Oswego County. Preference is given to businesses that aren't eligible for other low-cost power programs.
The Oswego County Public Utility Board, a group of citizens with a diverse background in power plant supervision, energy management, manufacturing and regulatory procedures, oversees the allocation of power. The board is chaired by Andrew E. Curran Jr. of Hannibal. Members include Dale A. Currier, Scriba; Jerry DeSantis, Oswego; Daniel Dougherty, Scriba; James A. Hotchkiss, Mexico; and Lawrence R. Perras, New Haven. Legislature Vice Chairman Greg Osetek, District 15, Oswego, serves as the Legislature's ex-officio representative. The county contracts with Select Energy, an energy service company based in Syracuse, to provide consulting and administrative services to the program.
The committee looks at dozens of factors to determine the merits and weaknesses of each application. Select Energy and Natural Gas Business Associates work with each applicant to determine a reasonable base allocation for the business.
Last year, 11 employers in Oswego County were allocated low-cost power. They include Acro-Fab, Hannibal; Canfield Machine and Tool, Volney; Empire Fresh-Cuts, Oswego Town; Fulton Tool Company, Fulton; Great Lakes Veneer, Oswego; Huhtamaki Consumer Packaging, Fulton; Industrial Precision, Oswego; Oswego County Opportunities, Fulton; Oswego Warehousing, Oswego; Oswego YMCA, Oswego; Riverview Business Park, Fulton; and Sure-Lock Industries, Scriba. Ten applicants were denied because they didn't meet the eligibility criteria.
In order to ensure that taxpayers receive maximum benefit from the low-cost power, local municipalities may receive a portion of power that isn't used by businesses. The County of Oswego is allocated a minimum of 1.5 megawatts -- which led to energy rebates totaling $969,800 in 2005.
A portion of unallocated energy is also designated for local cities, towns and villages. All municipalities in the county were invited to submit applications. Energy credits were granted to the cities of Oswego and Fulton, the towns of Scriba and Schroeppel, and the villages of Cleveland, Central Square, Mexico and Pulaski. Together, these local governments saved $952,530 in energy rebates.
Since the primary purpose of the program is to encourage job development, the amount of energy allocated to municipalities is reduced when new businesses are added to the program.
Power for Progress is a unique venture for a county government. It's exciting to be part of a successful incentive for job creation in Oswego County. In addition to the members of the Public Utility Board, we owe a debt of gratitude to the professional staff who are part of this endeavor: Phil Church, Executive Assistant to the County Administrator, County Attorney Richard Mitchell, and L. Michael Treadwell, Executive Director of Operation Oswego County, Inc.
Employers and local governments who would like more information about Power for Progress may contact Natural Gas Business Associates, 209 Second St., Liverpool, phone 453-2482.
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