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Photo: Kate O'Connell
Photo: Kate O'Connell

Energy regulator responds to transparency challenge

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New York's Public Service Commission - or PSC - has come under scrutiny in recent weeks with claims that it's proceedings lack transparency.

The commission's handling of plans for the future of two coal-fired power plants in upstate New York has been singled out for criticism.

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Opposing solutions for the Cayuga and Dunkirk power plants are being considered. The options are to either upgrade transmission lines or repower the facilities with natural gas.

Now, the PSC has ruled that heavily redacted cost and pricing data contained in both plans must be disclosed to the public in full.

Attorney Helen Slottje, who filed a Freedom of Information request for the information, says the ruling is a step in the right direction.

 “It’s encouraging that the PSC did not simply deny our request and sort of blindly accept that all of these documents are trade secrets. What remains a concern, there’s only one other state in the nation that doesn’t require disclosure and doesn’t apply lobbying rules to their PSC.”

The information was originally withheld because the energy companies claimed it contained sensitive trade secrets and proprietary details, but the commission’s ruling disputes that.

The companies hoping to repower the coal-plants with natural gas are appealing the decision.

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