Seward: Revoke Nyri Tax Credits

James L. Seward

August 08, 2006

State Senator James L. Seward said today that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) should revoke tax incentive rates for transmission line proposals that will, once completed, have guaranteed returns on their investments. Incentives adopted by FERC would apply to New York Regional Interconnect's proposed transmission line, a 200 mile power line running from Oneida County to Orange County.

Seward wrote to FERC Chairman Joseph Kelliher urging the commission to repeal a rule that gives transmission facilities tax incentives, especially when the company has a guaranteed cost payback.

"Incentive rates are just plain wrong when the company is going to get a guaranteed rate of return," Seward said. "It makes no sense. It's even more ridiculous when you realize that NYRI didn't figure in its tax incentive when it calculated a jump of near 7 percent in upstate wholesale electric rates as a result of the project. That means the burden is even greater on ratepayers -- our rates could bounce higher when you figure in the tax incentives."

Seward pointed out to the chairman of FERC that NYRI's submission to the state Public Service Commission calculates a rise in consumers' utility costs of near 7 percent if the NYRI line is constructed. Seward says the incentives amount to a ratepayer subsidy to NYRI.

"NYRI wants to scar the land and raise our energy costs, and we get to pay for the privilege," Seward commented. "It's like making the victim of a drive-by shooting buy the ammunition."

"I would like to see the incentive revoked, and I hope that our federal representatives will join me in working to see that the special NYRI tax break is one extension cord we can unplug in our effort to stop the power line," Seward concluded.