— WAPPINGER FALLS, NY – New York State Senator Terry Gipson (D-Dutchess, Putnam) last evening announced his Hudson Valley Affordable Energy Plan to address the many energy issues currently facing Hudson Valley residents. Community supporters who share his concerns, such as the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce, Central Hudson, Riverkeeper and local business owners, joined Senator Gipson at the Wappinger Town Hall.
“I refuse to sit back while hard working families and businesses in the Hudson Valley are faced with regressive energy taxes and unnecessary rate hikes,” saidSenator Gipson. “This plan presents realistic actions, with precedent, that with enough support can begin to address the energy issues facing our community. Ratepayers are in for a rude awakening and we must make our voices heard.”
Senator Gipson’s Hudson Valley Affordable Energy Plan features:
Adoption of a comprehensive energy conservation program – California implemented a plan when faced with rolling brownouts, which led to lower demand and energy savings. Senator Gipson urges the rapid adoption of similar provisions that are highlighted in the draft of the Governor’s plan, “Shaping the Future of Energy.”
Creation of an Independent Consumer Advocate for residential consumers in New York State – There is legislation in the State Senate that has bi-partisan support. 40 other states and the District of Columbia already have established independent consumer advocates, a plan supported by the AARP.
Stop capacity zone rate increases until New York State has commitments from new energy providers – This federal mandate has received opposition from local, state and federal representatives, the NYS Public Service Commission, local energy providers such as Central Hudson, and the New York Power Authority. Senator Gipson has issued a letter to NYISO and FERC urging them stop the capacity zone increases.
New energy providers must invest in renewable energy – Most energy providers, such as Central Hudson, already make investment in renewable energy, and NYSERDA continues to push for and provide incentives for renewable energy in New York. Senator Gipson believes we must ensure that any new energy providers in New York also make investments in renewable energy and green jobs.
Energy tax relief on the State and Local level – Since Senator Gipson led a phase out of the NYS 18A utility tax in last year’s budget, Governor Cuomo and his tax commission have recommended a full repeal of this tax ahead of schedule in the Governor’s 2014/2015 Executive Budget. Senator Gipson has also strongly opposes the Dutchess County Fuel Tax, recently passed by the County Legislature, and signed by the County Executive.
“During this brutal winter, my neighbors are facing astronomical energy costs, and the last thing folks need are more unfair rate increases or taxes that hurt our families and businesses,” said Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY18). “To put hard earned tax dollars back in the pockets of Hudson Valley residents, I’m fighting alongside Senator Gipson to reverse these unreasonable rate increases, and I’ll continue to look for ways to lower the cost of energy like investing in green energy technology.”
Charles North, President of the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce said, “The Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce stands in solidarity with Senator Gipson on his proposed plan of action and strongly in opposition to any capacity zone rate changes.”
Phillip Musegaas, Hudson River Program Director at Riverkeeper, said “Senator Gipson’s plan provides the forward-looking vision that is needed to move New York into a sustainable energy future. The plan’s focus on renewables and energy conservation complements the 2012 Synapse report commissioned by Riverkeeper and NRDC, which laid out a road map for increasing clean energy and conservation to ensure a reliable energy supply after the retirement of Indian Point. Riverkeeper is committed to helping Senator Gipson carry out this plan, for the benefit of New Yorkers and our environment.”
James P. Laurito, President of Central Hudson said, “Central Hudson joins Senator Gipson, the New York State Public Service Commission, elected officials and other New York utilities in opposing the new Capacity Zone imposed by federal regulators, as over time this would raise electricity costs for Hudson Valley residents and businesses by hundreds of millions of dollars without providing any benefits and without addressing the underlying causes of our energy issues. We believe upgrading the transmission system is the best alternative, as this will provide economic and environmental benefits and can be accomplished without the high costs of a capacity zone.”
Ned Sullivan, President of Scenic Hudson, said: “I commend Senator Gipson for his leadership in opposing this nonsensical regulatory action. The new capacity zones will take money from the economically vulnerable and give it to rich energy companies. It will hurt homeowners, small businesses and the economy while enriching the owners of Indian Point and other big power companies – with no guarantee they will strengthen the region’s energy capacity.”