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A portion of the proposed underwater power cable route.
A portion of the proposed underwater power cable route.

NYS Senator says Lake Champlain power cable will stifle Upstate power

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A State senator from Niagara county is pushing back against a plan to pipe more electricity from producers in Canada to consumers in New York City.

Senator George Maziarz says the big electricity transmission line planned to run under the water of Lake Champlain and the Hudson River would edge out power producers here in New York. Martha Foley has details.

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Reported by

Brian Mann
Adirondack Bureau Chief

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Yesterday, on WCNY’s Capital Pressroom, Maziarz said, “Once we open this door to Canadian power… out of state power coming into New York, I think what it will do, it will only expand the opportunity to get power from there. They’ll come in and low-ball it, I believe. Once they’ve cornered the market, I think New York rate payers are going to end up paying the price for it.”

He says the problem that exists now is that too many electricity producers in upstate New York – including wind, hydro and other sources – don’t have a way to transmit their power to consumers downstate.

“We have plenty of generating facilities in upstate New York. These are all generating stations that are operating well below capacity. Some of them are actually even shut down because they can’t get the power downstate to where it’s needed.”

But Donald Jessome, head of the Canadian company TDI that hopes to build the line down Lake Champlain, says his company's power would help to lower electricity rates in New York State and make the power grid more reliable. 

And Jessome says TDI's project won’t edge New York producers out of the market. “When people say that, you know, parties will come in, they’ll low-ball power prices and then raise them up—that just into how the markets work in New York and across the country. These are highly-regulated highly regulated markets.”

TDI’s line, if constructed, would feed roughly a thousand megawatts of power from Quebec to New York City.  Governor Andrew Cuomo has endorsed the idea of tapping into more Canadian power.

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