April 1, 2015
As of April 1st, Rochester-area residents could begin owing a debt to the nuclear company, Exelon, unless state officials step in.
The debt stems from the controversial, proposed bailout of the Ginna nuclear reactor, located 20 miles east of Rochester. Exelon, the company that owns Ginna, claims the reactor is losing tens of millions of dollars per year.
On February 13, 2015, the utility company, RG&E, reached a deal with Exelon that would subsidize Ginna for the next three and a half years, raising Rochester-area electricity rates by an estimated $165 million. Before it can go into effect, the proposed bailout has to be approved by the New York Public Service Commission (PSC), which probably won’t rule on the controversial deal for at least another couple of months.
Even though state officials haven’t approved the contract, Rochester-area residents might still owe money, starting today. The contract, as proposed, would be retroactive to April 1, which means that RG&E customers would start accruing a debt to Exelon beginning today, to be collected, with interest, if the deal gains approval. These debt payments would then have to be paid on top of the monthly payments outlined in the contract.
The Alliance for a Green Economy estimates this debt to be approximately $3.9 million per month before interest.
“We know this sounds like it should be an April Fool’s Day joke,” said Jessica Azulay, Program Director of the Alliance for a Green Economy, “but unfortunately it’s not. Unless Governor Cuomo and the Public Service Commission step in here, Rochester-area residents will start owing money to Exelon today, with interest.”
Alliance for a Green Economy is calling on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Public Service Commission to strike down the April 1 date of the contract. In a letter to be sent today to the Commission and copied to the Governor, the group says the April 1 date has no relevance from a public interest standpoint.
“It is an arbitrary date that RG&E and Exelon agreed to, and the companies are now trying to impose that on Rochester-area residents,” states the letter. “When RG&E and the owners of Ginna filed their proposed contract, nearly a month after it was originally due, they had to know it was unlikely the Commission would approve the contract before April 1. It is unreasonable to saddle Rochester-area customers with retroactive costs and interest payments that will start accruing before there has been time for the public to comment on the proposal or for the Public Service Commission to review the case.”
The group is urging RG&E customers to call Governor Cuomo and to write the Public Service Commission. More information can be found at www.allianceforagreeneconomy.org
A copy of the letter to be filed today can be viewed here.
Contract: Jessica Azulay, Alliance for a Green Economy
(315) 480-1515, firstname.lastname@example.org