New capacity zone update

CLP continues its organizing work against the new capacity zone, including encouraging municipalities to adopt resolutions of opposition and reaching out to State and Federal elected representatives. Thus far, resolutions of opposition to the NCZ have been passed by the Ulster and Dutchess County Legislatures, the Ulster County Association of Town Supervisors, and the Towns of Rosendale, Woodstock, Plattekill, New Paltz, Rochester, Denning, Olive, and Pleasant Valley.  Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) and, most recently, Representative Chris Gibson (R-NY Dist. 19) have also weighed in with the FERC on behalf of Hudson Valley communities.

The new zone is expected to increase electricity bills for residential, commercial, and industrial customers in the Hudson Valley by $230 million.

According to the FERC, raising the price of electricity in the Hudson Valley will attract investment in power plants and reduce transmission congestion.

Not so, says the NYS Public Service Commission (PSC), which argues that New York State is already planning upgrades to transmission lines that will make the new capacity zone unnecessary, and that the result may only be to increase profits for existing capacity generation owners at ratepayers' expense. According to the PSC, the NCZ may do nothing to increase investment in new capacity if potential investors believe the state's transmission upgrades will drive down wholesale electricity prices. In November, Senator Charles Schumer urged the FERC to delay implementation of the new capacity zone until at least 2017 to provide sufficient time for the transmission upgrades to be realized and assessed. The PSC and other parties, including Central Hudson-Fortis, have appealed the FERC ruling and it is now in re-hearing.