August 23, 2007

More Power Coalition Fun

As expected, former NPC Director Mark Zito has filed suit against the coalition seeking close to $70 million. Zito says he was promised a percentage bonus based on the overall settlement. If Zito wins, he says the first round is on him.

Seriously, isn't it amazing that a public policy issue that is probably more important than anything else this community has seen in the last decade and will impact us for 50 years going forward seems to have been a shoebox operation run out of the back of someone's car? Zito probably deserves the bonus for being the only person who actually took the time to do his homework and gain a working knowledge of the New York Power Authority and the Niagara Power Project. That same cannot be said for the local officials of both parties who seemed to just be passengers on this train.

From what I'm told and have read, Zito actually negotiated a pretty good deal for the Coalition until the members turned on each other and bastardized the deal to the point that they settled for less than Zito had gotten them.

The real question will be can the same clowns who slept walk through this issue actually use their settlement booty to accomplish some lasting good for Niagara County or will this just be another government money pit? Unfortunately, I think we know the answer.


Big Daddy said...

Time will tell over how good a deal this was. For example, Lewiston Supervisor Fred Newlin promised a 30 percent reduction in electrictiy rates. If he's right...he's a hero. If not, he's got some explaining to do.

Scott Leffler said...

From my point of view, Lewiston is the only community that got a good deal. And Zito had nothing to do with that deal.

If Zito has a document that says he get's 10 percent, then by all means, the power coalition should give him his kickback. Otherwise, I don't see how his lawsuit should go anywhere.

One thing you've got 100 percent is that the public officials deserve condemnation for their role - or lack thereof - in this whole fiasco.

Clemenza said...

How do you know if anyone got a good deal? If some people believe AES got too generous a deal then simple math says NYPA got off really cheap. They are three times bigger and the settlement they gave us is only a fraction of what AES pays.

Before people like Dennis Virtuoso spout off about AES, he should explain how he frigged up the NYPA negotiations.

Larry Castellani said...

The continuing local and national saga of government officials dropping the ball should eventually, you would think, get us to see that the so-called Repulican system of political "leadership" is a failure. Zito is a hero in my book just for having done his homework and being engaged. The rest of us deserve the incompetency of essentially unmandated "representatives" that we delude ourselves will take care of business for the community and the nation. The community needs to know the history of this debacle and it doesn't. When political action becomes a matter of wondering in the end whether we got a "good deal" we're all screwed. "Representatives", whether mandated or not are only as good as the citizens who elect and monitor them. And the citizenry in Niagara County is on the whole missing in action, that is, if they haven't left the battleground altogether for apparently greener pastures in Florida, North Carolina or Arizona.

Mr. Pink said...

We seem to have a recurring theme here. The local populace was completely asleep at the wheel when this issue was actually at a state where we could have had some say.

I agree with Larry and SA on Zito...he is apparently the only motivated enough to actually engage in this process.

Anonymous said...

clemenza you are right about virtuoso....despite my distaste for all politicians, this guy is the heart of the cancer in Niagara County. While the NYPA negotiations were going on, virtuoso was busy packing up Niagara County businesses and homeowners who have fled the area. He was the sole arcitect of this mad exodus with 13 people leaving the area daily. His anti-business and anti-family, anti-labor positions have damaged this area. It is time for this worthless scumbag to leave town as well. Too bad the moving vans didn't run his ass over.

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering how Leffler could possible think Lewiston got a good deal?? Any facts to support this Scott? Here's a community that lost tons of land off the tax rolls and Niagara Falls made off better than they did in the final deal. Newlin's a disgrace!

Anonymous said...

Hydro contracts extended
Power authority could end deals if state redirects cheap power for development.
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
By Rick Moriarty
Staff writer

Upstate residents will continue to receive access to state-owned hydropower, the least-expensive electricity in the state and one of the nation's cheapest.

But how long they will continue to get it is not certain.

The New York Power Authority's board of trustees voted 7-0 Tuesday to negotiate contracts to sell hydropower to the three big Upstate utilities National Grid, Rochester Gas & Electric and New York State Electric & Gas.

Upstate residents have received the power at cost for 45 years, but the utilities' contracts were to expire Sept. 1.

The authority, meeting in White Plains, voted to extended the contracts until June 30. And it reserved the right to revoke them on 30 days' notice, effectively making them month-to-month contracts.

Before the new contracts take effect, a public hearing will have to be held and Gov. Eliot Spitzer must approve them.

Thomas Kelly, the authority's executive vice president and general counsel, said the extension ensures access to inexpensive hydropower while the state Legislature and Spitzer decide whether to sell some or all of it to commercial customers to promote economic development.

"This continues with the status quo," he said.

An 11-member, temporary state commission in 2006 recommended hydropower be reallocated to commercial customers who promise to create jobs.

With the utility contracts expiring, the authority's management staff recommended that the trustees extend them only until June 30 in case the Legislature and governor take action.

The Upstate utilities will receive 455 megawatts of electricity from the two hydro plants. The utilities are required to sell it to their estimated 2.5 million residential and small farm customers without marking up the price. As a result, Upstate residents get the power for about 1 cent per kilowatt-hour. Wholesale power costs nearly 8 cents a kilowatt-hour, on average.

Upstate residents pay some of the highest power costs in the nation.

National Grid has said it would have to raise rates about 8 percent if it no longer had access to the hydropower. NYSEG said it would have to raise its rates about 13 percent and RG&E said it would have to raise its rates about 16 percent.

Staff writer Rick Moriarty can be reached at 470-3148 or

Sail Away said...

I was emailed this comment from an individual by the name of Sam C.:

Comment on Scott L about Mark Zito not having anything to do with the power coalition settlement: Scott its a one of a kind deal negotiated by Mark Zito. The coalition then came back and had to split the monies and power. This is where Fred Newlin put all of Lewiston in jeopardy. First he gave all the power away for 2% of the counties share of the money, that meant that he got about $50,000 dollars and let the county get 9 megawatts of power. When he realized that he gave up 2 million dollars in power to the county for 50k he came back and said that he never made the deal. Look at what is in writing after holding the coalition hostage for 7 months he gets a maybe, "as in the town of lewiston may get 3 mgw of power"-host community agreement . I cant believe no news organization has picked up the fact that Newlin has put Lewiston in the commodity business.