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May 19, 2009 - 4:36pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, genesee county, NYPA.

The New York Power Authority -- which previously came under fire for denying power allocation to a planned data center in Albion for Google -- unanimously approved power for a similar facility for Yahoo! today.

Gov. David Paterson announced the decision and discussed details of the proposal in a teleconference this morning, according to the Buffalo News.

One site in Genesee County and two in Niagara County are under consideration.

The facility would cost $150 million and when completed would employe about 125 people with an average salary of $65,000.

Yahoo! has been negotiating with state officials for the past six weeks for an allocation of 10 megawatts of low-cost hydroelectric power in order to build phase one of the center.

If the Yahoo! Board of Directors accepts the state's deal, the company would move forward with the project. Phase two to complete the data center would be done by 2012 and Yahoo! would be allowed another 5 megawatts of hydroelectric power.

April 16, 2009 - 7:11am
posted by Howard B. Owens in economy, jobs, NYPA.

Yesterday, we asked the Poll Question: What inhibits job growth in WNY?  Obviously, we left out one possible answer: The New York Power Authority.

You may remember reports previously of the NYPA chasing Google away from Medina.

This morning the Buffalo News reports that a start-up steel firm that would have employed 200 people in WNY will not open its factory gates thanks to NYPA.

It was the second time the company had looked to the Empire State to build a plant. After being turned down for its first request for power a few years ago, which also might have been in Orleans County, it decided to build its first plant, now under construction, in Mississippi.

The company now will look for a site outside New York State for a second plant, Chief Commerce Officer Mark Bula told The Buffalo News on Wednesday.

For its part, NYPA claims there are other new businesses looking for the power and there just isn't enough to go around. That may or may not be true, but as the News points out, NYPA has a long history of turning away job-producing companies from WNY.

March 24, 2009 - 7:54am
posted by Howard B. Owens in NYPA, utilities.

Yesterday, we posted an item about planned NYPA rate hikes after the authority had agreed to ship $500 million to the state budget.

Now, with criticism mounting, The Buffalo News reports this morning that the authority may be backing away from its rate increase.

In an e-mail entitled "rate cancel advisory," the power authority scheduled a news conference for this afternoon at the Niagara Power Project for what the e-mail would only say involves "an announcement related to hydropower rates."

...

The development follows a statement from Gov. David A. Paterson Monday that the power authority should halt both a planned rate hike for upstate electricity consumers and any plans to give its 1,500 workers salary bonuses, Monday.

Now if we could just get the NYPA do to something about those 200 Google jobs it cost WNY.

March 23, 2009 - 7:37am
posted by Howard B. Owens in NYPA, utilities.

Hard-hitting piece this morning from Donn Esmonde of the Buffalo News about a planned NYPA rate hike following a budget deal to shift $500 million to the state budget.

The rate hike was predictable, Esmonde says, and several WNY legislators went right along with the plan in order to assist down-state interests.

Power Authority officials contend that the spike is not connected to the $500 million it let Albany use to caulk its budget gap. But common sense tells you that when $500 million disappears, there is—one way or another—a price to pay.

“That $500 million was going to come out of somewhere,” said Assemblyman Jim Hayes, an Amherst Republican. “Don’t these people understand how much the average family is hurting?”

The double drilling—the $500 million siphoning, followed by the rate hike —started when state legislators last month OK’d the budget deal. Most of the supposedly “surplus” dollars—which could have been used to cut rates or help businesses—came from the Power Authority’s cash cow, the hydropower plant in Niagara Falls.

On Saturday, we also posted a piece about NYPA blocked Google from opening a 200-job facility in Medina.

Thanks, NYPA.

March 21, 2009 - 11:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in economy, jobs, Google, NYPA.

OK, Medina is outside of our coverage area, but the Daily News has a story this morning that concerns all of us, because any chance to create 200 good paying jobs in Western New York is an issue that impacts the entire region's economy.

Google wanted to build a server facility Medina, but the New York Power Authority would not help Google get low-cost power to the plant, which is a prerequisite for any of Google's hosting facilities.

The Daily's story fully captures the frustration over the situation.

State Sen. George Maziarz blasted NYPA for denying Google and other companies that have wanted to build in Western New York. Maziarz lambasted NYPA officials Thursday in Albany during a public hearing to raise electric rates by 12 percent.

“I personally worked over two years with a small company headquartered in San Francisco called Google that wanted desperately to locate in Western New York and were told there was no power available to them,” Maziarz said during Thursday’s hearing.

He blamed NYPA “for killing the deals and the jobs that go along with them.”

Maziarz went on to call NYPA officials liars and thieves.

If Niagara power can potentially  be acquired cheaply, as Tom Rivers points out in the story, to spur business growth, how does it possibly make sense for NYPA to thwart business expansion in a region that desperately needs that job growth?

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