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Local News

January 10, 2014

Seward: Power-line plan poses problems

Sen. James Seward, R-Milford, said Thursday he has “significant questions and concerns” about a proposed high-voltage transmission line that would largely run parallel to the existing Marcy South grid cutting through Otsego and Delaware counties.

In an interview with The Daily Star, Seward said he has questions about the consequences of sending lower-cost power that’s generated upstate to the customers of downstate utilities.

“Is there going to be an impact on our costs for electricity here upstate?” Seward said. “That’s one of my concerns.”

He also questioned why more generation plants aren’t constructed closer to New York City, one of the most densely populated areas of the nation, instead of constructing utility infrastructure upstate for the power that will be used downstate.

“I don’t know it’s not more feasible to generate the power closer to where the need is,” Seward said on the day Gov. Andrew Cuomo called for slashing the amount of time it takes for the state to review proposed power-line projects that use existing utility corridors.

The senator also suggested that “there are other ways to get to New York City” beyond the route the proposed grid project would take.

Cuomo’s proposal would reduce to 10 months the process by which the state Public Service Commission evaluates power-line projects running through existing corridors. The approval process takes about four years now. But with the license for the Indian Point reactor just north of New York City set to expire in 2015, the metropolitan region is looking for other sources of electricity. The nuclear plant provides an estimated 25 percent of the power for that region.

Cuomo has called for an “energy highway” that would connect New York City to upstate sources of electricity and potentially cut costs for ratepayers in downstate communities.

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