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Details provided on NYPA power allocation

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CANTON — Companies that apply for some of the 20 megawatts of low-cost hydropower offered by St. Lawrence River Valley Redevelopment Agency through a contract with New York Power Authority might have to wait six months for approval.

That is because the applications must be approved by both the RVRDA and the county Industrial Development Agency before the North Country Regional Economic Development Council has 60 days to provide insight. Applications then would head for approval to Massena Electric Department, which is contracted to allocate the power, before a final stamp from NYPA.

“This is not the type of program where we talk to someone on Monday and they get cheap power on Thursday,” IDA Executive Director Patrick J. Kelly told the county’s Economic Enhancement Committee Wednesday.

Committee Chairman Vernon D. “Sam” Burns, a Democratic legislator from Ogdensburg, said he was confident local agencies would speed up where they could.

“My concern is the regional economic development council and NYPA,” he said.

But Mr. Kelly did not think the time frame unwieldy.

“My experience with the Power Authority, they’ve been very responsive,” he said. “We’ll see how it works.”

No allocations have been made yet but the IDA has stepped up marketing to find companies attracted by low-cost power that will bring jobs.

“The power is a really unique asset. It’s a matter of finding the right fit,” Mr. Kelly said. “Now we have a locally administered power development program, which sets us apart. We have a certain amount of local control but not total control.”

Savings could be worth a company taking a second look at the county.

“Broadly speaking, it looks like savings of 20 percent to 40 percent,” Mr. Kelly said. “For the right company, the savings could be extremely significant.”

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