Nov 28, 2008 — As the financial crisis and state budget cuts buffet the already struggling economies of the North Country, look for low-cost hydropower to loom larger. The New York Power Authority produces 900 megawatts of cheap electricity at the dam on the St. Lawrence River. Alcoa buys about half of that to employ some 1300 people in Massena. North Country officials have long argued more of the power should energize businesses here rather than being sold downstate. The new CEO of the Power Authority says he's willing to listen. Richard Kessel has been on the job for about a month. He was a controversial appointment by Governor Paterson. First, because he's from downstate - Kessel ran the Long Island Power Authority from 1997 to 2006. Second, he was known for mismanagement and patronage in that job. Kessel told David Sommerstein that's behind him. He said the priorities in his new post in NYPA are to bring transparency to an agency widely known for secrecy and to help the Upstate economy.