by Jeremy Moule
The state Public Service Commission appears to agree with upstate elected officials who say that the ratepayers they represent shouldn't bear costs associated with closing the Indian Point nuclear plant.
At issue is a plan submitted by Consolidated Edison and the New York Power Authority to replace the power generated by Indian Point, if the plant is shut down. The plan submitted to the PSC makes upstate ratepayers responsible for $200 million of the cost to replace the power supply. Federal licenses for Indian Point Energy Center's two operating reactors expire soon: one at the end of September, the other in 2015. And some state officials, including Governor Andrew Cuomo, do not want the reactors re-licensed.
Yesterday, State Senator Ted O'Brien and Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle sent out a press release highlighting recent PSC findings on the proposal. It says the PSC agrees with elected representatives' arguments — O'Brien and Morelle submitted comments on the proposal, as did Senator George Maziarz — that upstate ratepayers shouldn't be on the hook since they won't see any benefit from the new power supply.
The press release cites this passage from the PSC's findings:
"...we are mindful of the various comments that asserted upstate regions in the State would not receive any benefit from addressing the reliability impacts associated with the closure of the IPEC facility. As a consequence, it was further argued that these upstate regions should not be required to contribute to the payment of the costs to implement the Indian Point Contingency Plan.
"In general, we agree with the numerous comments that suggested the cost allocation methodology should adhere to the principle of ‘beneficiaries’ pay, and that, in this case, the beneficiaries should be identified as those who receive the reliability benefits of the contingency plan projects."
The commission has directed Con-Ed and NYPA to work with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to submit a revised plan within 45 days, says the O'Brien-Morelle press release.