Dear Hudson Valley Neighbor,
The wait is over, and the state Public Service Commission (PSC) has released a proposed outline for moving forward with new transmission line projects. The proposal basically starts the whole process over—without addressing any concerns raised by the Hudson Valley Smart Energy Coalition (HVSEC), its member organizations, or the 25 towns and seven counties impacted by these proceedings .
We have until Friday, Aug. 29, to tell the PSC there are BIG problems with this proposal!
In a nutshell, here’s what the proposed outline contains:
By Jan. 15 developers may submit their original plan (i.e. MONSTER POWER LINES!), a modified plan or, with no obligation or incentive, an alternative that stays within existing rights-of-way.
Assisted by the New York Independent Systems Operator (NYISO), PSC staff will rank each plan based on six criteria, including amount of increased transfer capability, cost to ratepayers, new rights-of-way needed and assessment of environmental compatibility, including visual impacts. The proposal gives no indication of how these criteria will be applied or weighted. The rankings, along with recommendations for which projects should proceed, will be submitted to the PSC by March 2, 2015. The public will have only three weeks to respond and comment on the recommendations.
Under this proposal, 90 percent of the cost of any projects will be passed to downstate customers (including Dutchess County) and 10 percent to upstate customers. Further, developers will suffer only 20 percent of the risk of going over budget—with ratepayers picking up the remaining 80 percent of the tab.
Here are our main concerns:
1. Need. The proposal leaves off the table the question of need. To date there has been no independent study taking into account trends in electricity usage, technological innovation, parallel generation and advances in demand side management. Instead, the process starts from an assumption of need.
2. Context. There are currently a multitude of electricity-related projects and applications proceeding simultaneously in New York, each within its own “silo,” none being considered in the context of others. To avoid duplicative, inefficient or unnecessary development, there should be a comprehensive state energy policy taking into account all of these initiatives.
3. Uncertainty to property owners. Valley property owners will continue suffering economic harm from decreased property value, diminished farmland, stifled tourism and an uncertain real estate market. The PSC is offering reimbursement to developers for their costs in creating proposals, but offers nothing to businesses, landowners or communities taking an economic hit during this lengthy process.
4. NYISO. Although the NYISO has the word “Independent” in its name, there are legitimate concerns about the transparency of its methods. Some feel NYISO’s makeup of previous electricity industry professionals inclines it to favor projects beneficial to the industry. Because this perception exists, NYISO should display maximum transparency regarding its evaluation process and methodology.
5. Ranking. Although it’s encouraging to see right-of-way usage, visual impact and innovative technologies among the six criteria by which projects would be ranked, there is no mention of how the criteria would be weighted in the selection process. What might be most important to the PSC or NYISO could negatively impact the valley’s economic vitality.
6. Cost allocation. Based on cost allocation proposed in the new document, ratepayers in the area to be economically hardest hit by a new transmission project—the Hudson Valley—also must pay the lion’s share of the costs of selected projects, as well as the vast majority of cost overruns and likely all the expenses of unsuccessful applicants. Having the public assume 80 percent of the financial burden of cost overruns incentivizes developers to come in over budget and discourages efforts on their part to cut costs.
TIME IS SHORT, SO PLEASE DON’T DELAY!
Incredibly, Friday is the deadline for commenting on this new proposal via the PSC’s website. We’ve done everything we can to make this easy including shortcuts and links here. Please let the PSC know that this “revised” proposaldoes not address the major concerns of Hudson Valley residents, homeowners, farms and small businesses that depend on preserving the Hudson Valley !
YOUR ACTION IS URGENTLY NEEDED TODAY — ONLY FOUR DAYS LEFT!
1. Write to the Public Service Commission! Please let the PSC know TODAY that this proposal does not address the major concerns of the Hudson Valley people, AND reiterate “No Monster Power Lines” in the beautiful, scenic and historic Hudson Valley. This link (or the big yellow button below) will take you directly to the Case Matter for this proceeding so that you can enter your comment into the official public record. To see all of the comments and documents associated with this proceeding, link here: http://tinyurl.com/psccomments.
2. Write to Governor Andrew Cuomo and tell him to save the Hudson Valley from destructive proposals. If more electrical power is really needed (and this is still questionable according to many experts) there are much better options and solutions than destroying the Hudson Valley’s tourist based economy.
3. “Like” and “Follow” our Facebook page to keep current on news as it develops. We need to keep the pressure on!
4. Share this email with as many people as you can. The word-of-mouth multiplier effect can help save the Hudson Valley!
|If allowed to proceed as proposed, bidder’s current plans COULD STAND, including National Grid’s 130-165 foot Monster Power Lines, which would cause significant scenic destruction throughout the beautiful Hudson Valley. (The mere proposal of it is already devastating property values!)
Summary of four urgent actions to take today!
- Speak out to the Public Service Commission. Use this form; click here. Examples of public comments can be seen on the public comment tab here.
- Write to Governor Cuomo and ask for his help!
- Follow our No Monster Power Lines Facebook Fan Page. Click here.
- Forward this email to as many people as you can. Share links are provided below.