NYRI: Private venture or public good?

NORWICH – When it comes to the future of energy development, who knows what’s best for New York state?

According to New York Regional Interconnect Inc., it’s their company and the federal government.

NYRI is proposing to construct a $1.6 billion direct current power line from Oneida to Orange County, spanning 200 miles to relieve electricity constraints downstate, an area the U.S. Department of Energy has concluded is “critically congested.” The company is based out of Albany and is a subsidiary of American Consumer Industries of Delaware, which is in turn a subsidiary of Colmac Power in Toronto. NYRI officials have said they are answering the call of the federal and state governments for private investment in transmission, yet very little about the subsidiary’s credentials as a utility developer or the identity of its investors is known.

“Many states cannot or will not address their own problems,” states comments submitted on Oct. 10 to the U.S. Department of Energy by NYRI attorneys from the Albany firm Couch/White. “New York has proven that point. There can be no clearer case for federal attention and intervention.”

However, when asked at a state Senate Energy and Telecommunications hearing held in June if the power line was for private venture or public good, NYRI attorney Leonard Singer replied, “I don’t know.”

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