‘Cowardly move’ has NRG at risk

OBSERVER Staff Report

Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello says in this morning’s OBSERVER that the New York Independent System Operator is to blame for putting NRG Energy Inc. Dunkirk plant repowering in jeopardy.

Last week, as first reported by this newspaper, NRG officials admitted the conversion of the electric-generation plant from coal to natural gas was at risk due to the high price tag of nearly $114 million to tie the facility back into the grid. Borrello notes in a commentary piece on today’s Opinion page that this is a “shameful move” by an organization with questionable motives and has ultimate authority over the state’s grid and electricity market.

Borrello said while the NYISO’s mission is to keep electricity markets stable and prices competitive, it continues to woefully fail in assisting our economy. New York’s electric costs, he said, are in the top 10 for most expensive.

“We are one of the largest produces of hydroelectric power and we have an abundance of natural gas, especially here in Chautauqua County,” Borrello writes. “Yet we pay some of the highest electricity bills in the nation and we must now import power from other states and Canada. So the question is, with all of the capacity we have to produce low-cost power, why do we pay so much for electricity?”

The county executive also notes keeping the plant offline will not lower power costs here. “They plan to kill the repowering by making the interconnect too costly for NRG,” he said. “It’s a cowardly attempt to place the blame on NRG for the actions of the NYISO.”

See Page A4 for the full letter.