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North Country Power Authority bill clears major hurdle

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A bill allowing a group of North Country towns to form their own municipal power company cleared the Assembly Ways and Means Committee on Friday. It has already passed in the Senate. A floor vote before the full Assembly is expected as early as today. If it passes, two dozen towns in St Lawrence and Franklin counties will begin to buy power lines and substations from National Grid. The Alliance for Municipal Power is leading the effort. David Sommerstein reports.

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David Sommerstein
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The Alliance for Municipal Power is leading the effort to pass a bill that will allow two dozen towns in St Lawrence and Franklin counties to form their own municipal power company, dramatically reducing electricity bills. First though, the new power authority will need $50 million to buy electricity on the open market and buy the power poles and lines to transmit it from National Grid. And before that can happen, the legislature must give the bill the final green light and send it to the governor for his signature. Lawmakers may take up the measure as early as today. Bob Best with the Alliance for Municipal Power says once the group gets approval from Albany, it will take at least a year to start operating.

"Our target date is still January 1, 2012. There's a lot of things to be done with now and then. We don't know how long it's going to take to be presented to the governor and then for him to sign it," Best said.

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