NY to discuss power capacity, infrastructure with U.S. regulators

Thu Oct 30, 2014 4:55pm EDT
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Oct 30 (Reuters) - New York and federal energy regulators will hold a conference on Nov. 5 to discuss power grid capacity and infrastructure improvements that could help attract investments, the New York Public Service Commission said Thursday.

The capacity market provides money to generators and others to keep power plants available for service even if those units are not called upon to operate.

"Given the fact that more than $2.6 billion flows through the capacity market annually, it is critically important that it reflects the State's policy objectives and the needs of consumers in the State," PSC Chair Audrey Zibelman said.

Over the past year or so, several groups within New York, including the PSC, have asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to reconsider its order creating the Lower Hudson Valley capacity zone effective May 1, 2014.

The zone, which includes New York City and its northern suburbs, was created from several zones to attract investment in power infrastructure in the wider Lower Hudson Valley in part to help keep the local power system reliable.

Those opposed to the new zone say it could increase electric bills in the Lower Hudson Valley by $350 million a year.

Those in favor however say the higher capacity prices in the zone will increase reliability by attracting generators to build new plants there and encourage others to keep their old plants running longer.

Swiss commodities trader Mercuria, for example, has restored a couple units at the Danskammer power plant in the zone. The plant shut in 2012 due to damage by Hurricane Sandy and was scheduled for demolition.

Mercuria, which said it decided to rebuild the plant before the new capacity zone was created, said it plans to restore two more units at the plant later this autumn.

The conference will be held in New York City. See, here$File/pr14068.pdf?OpenElement (Reporting by Scott DiSavino in New York and Kevin Jose in Bangalore; Editing by David Gregorio)