The New York Power Authority continues to remain in a constant state of chaos with the unexpected resignation of the chairman of the State Power Authority, Frank McCullough Jr. He leaves with two years left on his current term. His departure, along with the the forced resignation of NYPA CEO Roger Kelley, should be seen as an opportunity for Niagara County to have a greater say in the operations of the organization.
As we know, the Niagara Power Project is the biggest electricity producer in New York State, generating 2.4 million kilowatts.
NYPA states that economic development is a top priority for the New York Power Authority. Most people in our community would agree that economic development is a top priority for our region. As so many corporations are reliant on cheap electricity and an abundance of fresh water, it would seem that NYPA and Niagara County would be on the same page.
When Roger Kelley, a Western New Yorker, was appointed to head NYPA, excitement abounded. Then it quickly waned. Kelley was a disappointment as NYPA CEO, barely acknowledging WNY's significance in contributing to NYPA.
Let's hope that changes soon. Richard Kessel, former chairman and chief executive officer of the Long Island Power Authority, has been mentioned as a possible successor to Kelley. Even if the head of NYPA is from outside our region, it is imperative that Western New York, and Niagara County, have a voice at the NYPA table - our economic development future may depend on it.