Directs the New York power authority to conduct audits of certain entities who were parties to the federal relicensing agreement approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and who received power allocations or payments pursuant to such agreement.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public authorities law, in relation to duties of the New York power authority
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: To authorize and direct the New York Power Authority (NYPA) to conduct audits of those entities that received power allocations or monetary payments associated with the relicensing agreement adopted on September 1, 2007 in relation to the Niagara Power Project in Lewiston.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
Section 1: Authorizes the authority to conduct an audit of those entities who received benefits associated with the relicensing of the Niagara Power Project. The audit may be conducted by the Authority's staff or an RFP may be issued to select a private firm. All of the beneficiaries of power or money associated with relicensing are also required to fully cooperate. NYPA is then required to provide a report to the Governor and the Legislature on the results of the audits conducted by March 1, 2014.
Section 2. Sets forth the effective date
JUSTIFICATION: As of January 2013, NYPA has provided over $208 million in benefits to Western New York in support of its operating License for the Niagara Power Project. These benefits include monetary payments to settlement partners consisting of local municipalities, state agencies, an Indian nation, school districts, and committees supporting the development of the Niagara River Greenway. The amount also includes payments by NYPA for the construction of recreational projects and ecological enhancements related to the License. In addition to monetary benefits, 32 MW of low-cost hydropower has been allocated to several settlement partners saving the recipients as much as 75% of the cost of energy. These benefits are an important investment in Western New York's economy, and therefore it is especially important to account for the use of these resources, and evaluate how effectively they have been managed. Questions have consistently been raised about the use of funds by the Niagara Greenway Commission, as well as those municipalities and public entities that have benefitted from low cost power and cash payments. Efforts to compile this information have not been successful up to now because NYPA does not have the authority to conduct a full audit, and also lacks the authority to compel those who benefit from the relicensing agreement to comply with requests for information. This bill provides the appropriate authority and aims to bring transparency and accountability to the massive outlays of power and money that have resulted from the relicensing agreement.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE.HISTORY: New Bill
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: To be determined
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 4948 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE May 1, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sen. MAZIARZ -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Energy and Telecommuni- cations AN ACT to amend the public authorities law, in relation to duties of the New York power authority THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 1005 of the public authorities law is amended by adding a new subdivision 24 to read as follows: 24. A. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY PROVISION OF LAW TO THE CONTRARY, THE AUTHORITY SHALL UNDERTAKE AN AUDIT OF ALL THE PARTIES SUBJECT TO STATE OVERSIGHT THAT WERE NAMED AS BENEFICIARIES OF A POWER ALLOCATION OR CASH PAYMENT IN THE FEDERAL RELICENSING AGREEMENT APPROVED BY THE FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION THAT TOOK EFFECT ON SEPTEMBER FIRST, TWO THOUSAND SEVEN, IN RELATION TO THE NIAGARA POWER PROJECT IN LEWISTON, NEW YORK. B. AS DEEMED FEASIBLE AND ADVISABLE BY THE TRUSTEES OF THE AUTHORITY, THE AUDIT REQUIRED BY THIS SUBDIVISION MAY BE CONDUCTED BY THE AUTHORITY AND ITS STAFF OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE THE AUTHORITY IS HEREBY AUTHORIZED TO ISSUE A REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS WITHIN NINETY DAYS OF THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS SUBDIVISION FOR A QUALIFIED ACCOUNTING AND AUDITING FIRM TO PERFORM THIS WORK. C. EACH ENTITY WHO RECEIVED A POWER ALLOCATION OR CASH PAYMENT IS HEREBY DIRECTED TO COOPERATE FULLY WITH THE AUDIT REQUIRED HEREIN, AND TO PROVIDE DOCUMENTS OR OTHER EXHIBITS IN A TIMELY MANNER, AND TO MAKE WITNESSES READILY AVAILABLE WHO ARE CAPABLE OF PROVIDING INFORMATION ABOUT THE USE OF THE AUTHORITY'S ASSETS PURSUANT TO THE RELICENSING AGREEMENT AND TO COMPLY WITH OTHER REQUESTS AND REQUIREMENTS DEEMED APPROPRIATE BY THE AUTHORITY OR ITS DESIGNEE. D. SUCH AUDIT SHALL INCLUDE BUT SHALL NOT BE LIMITED TO, AN EXAMINA- TION AND REPORT ON EACH TRANSACTION INVOLVING RELICENSING POWER OREXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD10691-02-3 S. 4948 2
MONEY, INCLUDING IDENTIFYING THE BENEFICIARIES OF SUCH BENEFITS, SPECI- FYING ANY AND ALL CASH PAYMENTS OR POWER ALLOCATIONS AND A REVIEW OF EACH TRANSACTION TO DETERMINE WHETHER ANY JOBS WERE CREATED OR RETAINED AS A RESULT OF THE ALLOCATIONS IN QUESTION OR IF ANY BENEFIT WAS PROVIDED TO THE COMMUNITY AS A WHOLE. E. THE AUTHORITY SHALL ISSUE A REPORT ON THE RESULTS OF THE AUDIT BY MARCH FIRST, TWO THOUSAND FOURTEEN, AND SHALL TRANSMIT A COPY OF THE FULL AUDIT DOCUMENT TO THE GOVERNOR, THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE, THE CHAIRS OF THE SENATE ENERGY AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMITTEE AND THE ASSEMBLY ENERGY COMMITTEE AND THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OR RESPONSIBLE PARTY FOR EACH RELICENSING BENEFICIARY WHO IS A SUBJECT OF SAID AUDIT. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.