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NY Senate OKs energy incentive for jobs

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's proposed expansion of electricity incentives for employers was adopted Tuesday night by the State Senate.

Senators unanimously gave first passage to a bill replacing the Power for Jobs program with a new initiative, called Recharge New York.

The legislation doubles to 910 megawatts the amount of cheap electricity available to businesses, hospitals and other not-for-profit organizations by ending allocations to upstate homeowners and farms. Those losing power will receive $100 million a year through 2013 and then smaller amounts thereafter.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. George Maziarz (R-Newfane) and Assemb. Kevin Cahill (D-Kingston), adds 445 megawatts of low-cost electricity for employers that create jobs and/or make investments in equipment and buildings. Since 1997, about 500 employers statewide, including 35 on Long Island, have shared about 445 megawatts through Power for Jobs.

That program, however, hasn't accepted new applicants in recent years because of a dearth of electricity. The program also has only won renewal on a yearly basis because lawmakers disagreed over transferring low-cost energy from upstate.

The bill, which now goes to the Assembly, would make permanent Recharge New York and give employers seven-year contracts for power.

"This is another step toward putting New York on the right direction," Sen. Charles Fuschillo Jr. (R-Merrick), a member of the energy committee, said on the Senate floor. "This is critically important for the economic revitalization of . . . Long Island."

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