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SIX AREA FIRMS GET CHEAP POWER ALMOST 600 NEW JOBS ARE EXPECTED TO BE CREATED

The Buffalo-based computer services firm Upgrade Corp. of America will receive low-cost hydroelectric power in exchange for creating 200 jobs.

The New York Power Authority approved the power allocation to Upgrade and five other companies Tuesday.

Upgrade will receive a 300 kilowatt allocation for creating 200 jobs and protecting 307 others. The firm submitted a proposal for the cheap power after Power Authority trustees gave preliminary approval in December for allocations to the other companies.

Upgrade provides technology service to the high-tech industry. It is planning to renovate its 15,000-square-foot warehouse at 699 Hertel into office space and move the warehouse operation to an adjacent facility. Equipment also will be purchased, bringing the project cost to $2.87 million.

The power allocation is expected to save Upgrade $90,000 a year.

Five companies also received final approval for power allocations Tuesday:

Coyne Textile Services will receive 350 kilowatts for creating 35 jobs and protecting 58 others.

International Imaging Materials Inc. of Amherst will received 1,500 kilowatts in exchange for creating 200 jobs.

PCB Piezotronics Inc. of Depew will create 60 jobs and protect 236 in exchange for 300 kilowatts.

Precious Plate Inc. of Niagara Falls will receive 250 kilowatts in exchange for creating 25 jobs and protecting 96.

Tops Markets Inc. will receive 1,000 kilowatts in exchange for creating 64 jobs and protecting 618 at its proposed warehouse-distribution center in Lancaster.

The electricity is produced at the power authority's Niagara Power Project in Lewiston and is part of expansion power reserved for Western New York businesses. The authority's regulations require it to seek competing proposals for most expansion power allocations. Upgrade was successful in its competing proposal.

"This procedure assures that we obtain the greatest possible job commitments for the power," said Power Authority Chairman Thomas G. Young. "In this case, the new proposal by (Upgrade) met the required criteria, and we had the power available, so the trustees approved it along with the other five."

The six companies are planning to invest a total of $100 million in new or expanded facilities, and will save nearly $1 million a year on their electricity bills.

The allocations will be for 15 years.

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