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River Agency hopes low-cost power will attract businesses

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LOUSIVILLE – St. Lawrence River Valley Redevelopment Agency officials are hammering out a plan to use low-cost power to land industry in St. Lawrence County.

“Now that we can talk with confidence about the cost and quality advantages of the power,” county Industrial Development Agency CEO Patrick J. Kelly said. “We’re highlighting the benefits that the county offers to businesses.”

A contract was recently approved granting the River Agency 20-megawatts of low-cost power from the New York Power Authority for economic development.

Mr. Kelly said the River Agency and IDA will reach out to qualifying firms through mailings, trade show sites, phone calls and advertisements.

Qualified applicants include industrial and manufacturing companies, research and development firms, non-retail service firms, warehouse and distribution facilities, agricultural businesses and headquartered facilities.

The River Agency and IDA will highlight the benefit of stable and predictable energy costs, Mr. Kelly said.

“There are a lot of variables, depending on where the user is located, but the savings can range from 25 to 60 percent,” Mr. Kelly said. “The use of power, the amount and the load factor all contribute to this variability.”

In order to choose which business applicants will get low-cost power, the Massena Electric Department will compile a statement concerning the applicant’s savings, establish the number of jobs that would be created and include any recommendations of the IDA, River Agency and North Country Regional Economic Development Council. Upon receiving the application, NYPA must either approve or deny the application within 90 days.

Meanwhile, the IDA, River Agency and Regional Economic Development Council will work together to ensure they provide “effective incentive economic packages to encourage economic development,” according to the agreement.

The allocation process is similar to the IDA loan process, Mr. Kelly said. Qualified applicants must create new jobs and propose to make capital investments in new or existing facilities.

“Each expansion project is different. We develop a relationship with the company and find out what works best for them,” Mr. Kelly said. “The IDA and our staff will provide connectivity between the different agencies.”

Projects should start within one year of receiving the allocation and be completed within three years, according to the agreement.

“Now that there is a certainty of the power, it enables us to have more certainty in our process and end-users in the power,” Mr. Kelly said.

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