I must say that I am quite optimistic about the appointment of Roger Kelley to head the New York Power Authority (NYPA). In case you missed it, Kelley was recently appointed by the governing body of the State Power Authority to succeed Tim Carey, who began serving on the NYPA board as a trustee in 2000.
The reason for my optimism is that Kelley is a Western New York guy. He works in Lockport and lives in East Amherst.
There are multiple NYPA sites across New York, but none with the power generating capability of the facility in Niagara County. With the massive amount of power generated through the Lewsiton facility comes massive profits. Unfortunately, this power and these profits are often used to subsidize business interests outside of Western New York.
Elliot Spitzer has promised to revitalize the upstate economy. He designated an Upstate Chair of the Empire State Development Corp (ESDC), Daniel Gundersen, as well as an Upstate headquarters in Buffalo. Although Gundersen has been vitually invisible in Western New York since his appointment, the appointment of Kelley, Spitzer's choice to head the authority, is a positive step.
What Kelley brings to the table in terms of experience is unquestioned. He earned a degree in electrical engineering from Northeastern University in Boston and has subsequently worked in the private utility business for 33 years, including stints at New York State Electric & Gas Corp., Empire Energy Corp., Commercial Union Energy Corp. and LS Power Corp. before joining Fortistar in 1992. He has been senior vice president and chief technical officer for the past decade.
What Kelley brings to the table in terms of value to Western New York remains to be seen. While he has been very guarded in his initial comments to the press, he is quoted as saying “the power authority at the end of the day is the New York Power Authority, not the Western New York Power Authority”, I for one am hopeful that Kelley will in fact bring a local perspective to the position.