Nearly two months after Richard Kessel stepped down as president and chief executive of the New York Power Authority, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo Monday appointed NYPA's interim chief, Gil Quiniones, to replace him permanently.
The appointment comes as the deadline for companies to apply for low-cost power allocations from NYPA under the newly enacted Recharge New York legislation nears, and programs tailored specifically for some Long Island companies are set to expire.
Quiniones, who joined the White Plains-based authority in 2007, had been chief operating officer since June 2008. NYPA, the nation's largest public power agency, operates 17 power plants around New York State, including the largest, in Niagara, and provides power to 115 state municipalities, including Greenport, Freeport and Rockville Centre. LIPA buys power from NYPA, which operates a plant in Holtsville.
Kessel, formerly chairman and chief executive of the Long Island Power Authority before joining NYPA in 2008, stepped down from the latter post in September. The state inspector general since the spring has been conducting a probe of grants, donations and other spending at NYPA under Kessel.
The State Senate must confirm Quiniones' appointment.
Other staffers who have departed NYPA in Kessel's wake include former chief financial officer Elizabeth McCarthy, who had held the same post at LIPA, and Kessel's special adviser Francine Evans, NYPA confirmed.
Officials on Long Island have been pressing Cuomo's office to act more quickly on open LIPA posts. The chief executive spot at LIPA has been vacant for more than a year, after Kevin Law stepped down last September. Chief operating officer Michael Hervey has been performing the functions on an interim basis. LIPA chairman Howard Steinberg's term ended in August.
Meanwhile, companies seeking to receive allocations under Recharge New York legislation, including those currently enrolled in several programs, have until the month's end to apply.
NYPA power allocations will no longer be available through the Suffolk County Electric Agency, which served five companies under the Municipal Distribution Agency Power program, from NYPA. Mark Smith, a spokesman for Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, said the county has met with NYPA in hope of reversing the decision. In all some 50 Long Island companies receive low-cost power from NYPA, including CA Technologies, Newsday and Crescent Duck Farms.
NYPA spokeswoman Connie Cullen said several other programs also are expiring. In addition to the municipal program, they include Power for Jobs, High Load Factor Power, and Economic Development Power. Entities must now apply directly to NYPA for allocations, which can last up to seven years compared with the previous one-year term.