API plastics firm gets power perk to stay on LI

Autronic Plastics has received an award of low-cost

Autronic Plastics has received an award of low-cost electricity from the New York Power Authority for consolidating operations in Central Islip. Chief executive Michael Lax said the company will stay put on Long Island, although he had considered taking the plant to North Carolina where the cost of power is less. (Credit: Newsday, 2011 / Alejandra Villa)

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A plan by a plastics company to expand here, and not in North Carolina, has received a boost from New York State, officials said Monday.

The state Power Authority awarded 436 kilowatts of low-cost electricity to Autronic Plastics Inc. for consolidating operations in Central Islip. A kilowatt equals 1,000 watts and can power a single home.

The company, known as API, has outgrown its office and factory at 29 New York Ave. in Westbury and a small plant outside of Asheville, N.C. It makes LED portable lights used in construction, DVD security cases found in public libraries, and plastic components.

Chief executive Michael Lax said last night that API will stay on Long Island. "The electric rates in North Carolina are almost half of what they are here, and electricity is one of our highest cost items. So this news is good for us," he said when told of the Power Authority's decision.

In return for reduced utility bills for seven years, API will maintain its workforce of 85 and add 21. It also will spend $4 million on a 100,000-square-foot facility at 1150 Motor Pkwy in Central Islip.

Suffolk County previously offered $1.2 million in tax breaks over 12 years.

API is among four businesses on Long Island winning incentives from the Power Authority through the ReCharge NY program, established in 2011. The others are Big Apple Sign Corp. in Islandia, Hanan Products Co. in Hicksville and Work Market Inc. in Huntington.

More than 100 local companies participate in ReCharge NY, but recently some have complained they aren't receiving the anticipated savings. Price spikes for electricity used in the program have caused fluctuations in utility bills. Earlier this month, the Power Authority instituted a cap on price increases to help stabilize bills.

Authority president Gil Quiniones said Monday, "While there is still more work to be done, I think we can all take pride in the achievement of ReCharge New York."

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