Debate over Ginna power plant

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ONTARIO, N.Y. (WROC)- There is a battle brewing over Wayne County’s largest employer- The Ginna Power Plant. On Wednesday, hundreds of residents from around the region attended a public hearing at the Webster Recreational Center, giving their opinions about why Ginna Power Plant should stay or go.

Last year, Exelon, the owner of Ginna Power Plant claimed they were no longer making a profit off the plant. They said they lost $100-million dollars over the course of 2012 and 2013. Ginna and Rochester Gas and Electric, one of Ginna’s biggest customers said Ginna’s power is necessary to ensure reliable electricity supply for RG&E’s 370,000 plus customers. Exelon said without the contract, it would close the plant.

In February, The owners of Ginna Power Plant, Exelon and RG&E reached a contract agreement to keep the plant open through September of 2018.  They filed the contract with the New York State Public Service Commission, which has to approve it.

Under the new contract, RG&E customers electricity bills will go up. According to the contract, by 4.2% or $3.89 a month.

Crescenzo Scipione attended Wednesday’s meeting. He is an organizer with the Alliance for a Green Economy. Scipione said it’s not fair to charge customers more money to keep an inefficient nuclear plant open.

“RG&E wants to make people in Rochester  pay higher energy bills in order to keep Ginna Power Plant open,” Scipione said. “It’s really quite offensive to think struggling, hardworking people in Rochester who can barely pay their bills as it is should have to pay higher bills to keep an unsustainable insolvent reactor up and running.”

Scipione points to the fact that the plant was built in the 1960’s and even its parent-company, Exelon admitted it had lost money. He also believes that most peoples bills will go up much higher than $3.89 cents.

There was also many people in favor of keeping the plant open. Dave Young is the President of the Rochester Building Trades Council and Business Manager of the IBEW Local 86. Young said the loss of the plant would be a determined to Wayne County. He cites the loss of 700-jobs, higher business costs and losses to consumers.

“If they shut it down there won’t be enough electricity generated in our region for the time being because we can’t import it, we’re not connected to the grid well,” Young said. “We can have brown outs or black outs going forward and in the next couple of years utility bills could sky rocket.”
 
Young said closing the plant would take years and be expensive too, costing between 1 and 2 billion dollars. Scipione said now is the time to do it and find a more green and cost efficient way to provide energy to the region.

There will be another public meeting Thursday, May 7th at Rochester City Hall at 4:00p.m. and 7:00p.m.

A New York State Public Service Commissioner attends the sessions and listens to the comments.

To submit your comment you can go to the Public Service Commission’s website.

Public comment period ends May 20.

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