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August 19, 2013

NYPA salaries, benefits misstated

The Daily Star

---- — An Aug. 16 editorial on a recent report by the state comptroller on the New York Power Authority repeated misleading information in the report, which short-shrifted the major benefits that NYPA brings to the Southern Tier and the state.

This includes providing low-cost hydropower to municipal electric systems in Sherburne and Richmondville, whose residential rates averaged about 4.3 cents per kilowatt hour, compared to the average of 13 cents per kwh for local private utilities. This is a saving of two-thirds on their bills.

NYPA also provides 43 key Southern Tier businesses with lower-cost power through the statewide ReCharge NY program, resulting in nearly 27,000 jobs committed in the region. Further, it spearheads major energy efficiency upgrades at public facilities, including SUNY Oneonta, where it has undertaken over $2 million in improvements.

NYPA’s very low-cost structure is the reason it is able to provide some of the lowest-cost electricity to spur businesses’ investments and provide other key services to lower electricity costs.

The state comptroller’s report glossed over this, providing inadequate context on other matters. Here are the facts:

NYPA’s salaries and benefits are comparable with large publicly-owned utilities and significantly less than private utilities.

NYPA must retain and attract a highly skilled work force to ensure the safe, reliable operation of its facilities and carry out its key statewide programs. Salary comparisons cited by The Daily Star were inaccurate and appear to use inconsistent data.

NYPA is working hard to address the high electric costs endured by too many non-NYPA customers through its spearheading the ReCharge NY program, as well as a statewide energy efficiency initiative — Build Smart NY — and the N.Y. Energy Highway Blueprint for modernizing the state’s electric system.

Gil C. Quiniones

New York City

Quiniones is president and CEO of the New York Power Authority.