NYPA report ‘misinterprets key facts’

This is in response to the OBSERVER’s View of Aug. 11 headlined “Agency looks power hungry.”

The state comptroller’s report misinterprets key facts and ignores reforms that the New York Power Authority has instituted over the last two and a half years. If they had contacted us at any time during this process, we would have been glad to clear up these misconceptions.

NYPA makes the following points in response to the comptroller’s report and press release:

Contrary to the report, NYPA’s low power rates are unaffected by its financial contributions to New York state. The contributions have been significantly reduced since 2011 and have become more predictable going forward. Such contributions are not unique to NYPA. Other public power utilities around the country, including JEA (Northeast Florida), Salt River Project (Phoenix), Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, and CPS Energy (San Antonio, Texas), have been among those that have made contributions in their jurisdictions.

NYPA has a small eight-seat prop plane – not a jet. The plane is used by NYPA engineers and operating personnel in monitoring, maintaining and upgrading the Authority’s 16 power plants, more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines and 14 large substations across the state – and only after a cost-benefit analysis of other modes of travel before each flight. The NYPA plane has been of great value for transporting personnel to hard-to-get-to NYPA locations such as our large hydroelectric power plant, transmission lines and substations in Northern New York and for quickly dispatching engineering personnel in case of facility emergencies.

The NYPA Travel Desk enforces government-rate fares for all employees and contractors and anyone who does business with NYPA. This ensures we have the most cost-effective travel arrangements and adhere to NYPA’s travel policies and procedures.

NYPA salaries are comparable to other large public power utilities in the U.S., but significantly lower than investor-owned electric utilities in New York state. NYPA must pay competitive salaries in order to attract and retain qualified personnel to run its highly technical and complex generation and transmission facilities.

NYPA offers the lowest cost power in New York state to its customers, including businesses that commit to create and protect jobs.

Mike Saltzman is director of communications and media relations at New York Power Authority.