The New York Power Authority will conduct a public hearing this week in Syracuse to solicit opinions on continuing the sale of cheap state-owned hydropower for use by Upstate residential customers.

Some 455 megawatts of power from the Niagara and St. Lawrence hydroelectric facilities is sold at cost to three Upstate utilities, benefiting more than 2.5 million residential customers of National Grid, New York State Electric & Gas and Rochester Gas & Electric. Residential customers saved $2 to $4 a month in 2009, according to Gov. David Paterson’s office.

Some economic development advocates say the electricity — valued at about $82 million below market in 2009 — could be better used to subsidize business growth. Paterson and Senate leaders this year backed a plan to use some of the power for economic development, but the plan was blocked in the Assembly.

NYPA is proposing to extend its current contracts with the utilities through 2011, subject to revocation with 30 days notice.

Public comments will be taken 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Syracuse City Hall, Common Council Chambers, 233 E. Washington St. Written comments can be submitted until Friday to or to Karen Delince, NYPA corporate secretary, 123 Main St., White Plains, NY 10601.


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