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Supervisor part of alliance to get power deal

LOCKPORT -- Lockport Supervisor Marc R. Smith last week was designated the town's representative to the Eastern Niagara Power Project Alliance, which is engaged in bargaining with the New York Power Authority over its relicensing.

Newfane School Superintendent James N. Mills is the main spokesman for the 17-member group.

Other members are the City of Lockport; the towns of Cambria, Hartland, Newfane, Pendleton, Royalton and Somerset; the villages of Barker and Middleport; and the Barker, Lockport, Newfane, North Tonawanda, Royalton-Hartland, Starpoint and Wilson school districts.

Each entity paid $5,000 to join the alliance, Town Attorney Daniel E. Seaman said.

Smith said the group is gathering information on municipal power usage as a bargaining chip in negotiations with the New York Power Authority on relicensing the power project for another 50 years.

The Lockport Town Board backed away from attempts to join the Niagara Power Coalition, which said the town has no reason to be represented in that group, Smith said.

Niagara County and six western county municipalities and school districts that make up the Niagara Power Coalition won a $1 billion, 50-year package of cash and discount electricity.

Buffalo and Erie County made a deal with the Power Authority, too, for nearly $400 million.

The eastern Niagara group wants a piece of the action, but the Power Authority has said it won't talk to the alliance unless ordered to do so by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which is considering the authority's relicensing application.

The Eastern Niagara group has hired a legal adviser specializing in power licensing issues.

It also has filed an intervention notice with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the agency expected to grant the Niagara Power Project's new license in 2007.

Mills has said the Eastern Niagara group wants its own deal with the Power Authority, not a slice of anyone else's payments.


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