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Low-cost state power program offers bill deferment due to coronavirus

Robert Moses hydroelectric power generating station in Lewiston,

Robert Moses hydroelectric power generating station in Lewiston, New York. Credit: Maria Janicki / Alamy Stock Photo

Businesses, hospitals and nonprofits that receive low-cost electricity from New York State can defer paying the state for up to six months because of the coronavirus pandemic, officials said.

Trustees of the state Power Authority on Tuesday approved “relief programs” for recipients of its ReCharge NY electricity. On Long Island, about 240 ReCharge NY power allocations have been granted to employers in exchange for a committment to provide a total of 75,000 jobs.

The suspension of bill payments, which starts with the April 2020 invoice, only covers amounts owed to the Power Authority. Many ReCharge NY customers also receive electricity from PSEG and other providers, which aren’t affected by the authority's relief programs.

“We are committed to supporting our economic development customers through this challenging time,” said Authority chairman John R. Koelmel, adding the power allocations support business expansions and hiring. “It’s critical that we ensure the benefits of our support are sustained during this devastating pandemic,” he said.

Customers with bill deferments will have 18-months to pay what's owed free of interest or penalties.

Customers wishing to opt-in to bill deferment should contact their account executive at the authority, according to spokesman Paul DeMichele.

Some of Long Island’s largest employers receive ReCharge NY electricity, including Amneal Pharmaceuticals, Broadridge Financial Solutions, Canon U.S.A., Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Crescent Duck Farm, Henry Schein, Northwell Health, the Nature’s Bounty Co. and Wenner Bread Products.

Besides the suspension of bill payments, authority trustees also agreed to waive rate increases for ReCharge NY for one year or until July 1, 2021.

The ReCharge NY allocations are for seven years and can save companies and nonprofits thousands of dollars annually on utility bills. The electricity is produced by dams near Niagara Falls and along the St. Lawrence River upstate, not by plants burning fossil fuels.

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