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HIGH NIMO RATES DISCOURAGE JOB CREATION

Power Choice was graciously accepted at face value by the Public Service Commission without any regard for the preservation and/or development of businesses and jobs in Upstate New York.

With smoke-screen promises of cheaper rates (pennies) for residential customers, Niagara Mohawk is charging us the highest electric rates in the nation, while selling its cheap hydroelectric power elsewhere.

Commercial properties in Buffalo pay 15 cents a kilowatt hour for power, while the national average is under 10 cents. It is easy to figure out why our environment does not invite business development and job creation.

The fanfare over NiMo extending electric power rate benefits to Economic Development Zone properties is also an illusion. NiMo customers who relocate get no benefit. When one reads the fine print, the benefits are only extended to very specific special interests, obviously the friends of our State Legislature leadership.

NiMo made the co-gen deals. No one twisted its arm. As part of the bailout, the PSC allowed NiMo to recover "stranded" costs based on the estimated value of generation facilities to be sold.

The assets were then sold at values far exceeding the estimates. Where did the money go? Who is watching out for the businesses and taxpayers?

NiMo has admitted overcharging the city and others in past billings, and initially refused to reimburse them. How are we to trust them to honestly set rates and effectuate policies that make the area inviting to business development?

Why did the PSC allow NiMo shareholders to be bailed out of their bad business decisions instead of suffering the same bankruptcy that other businesses suffer for poor management?

And why did the State Legislature abrogate its responsibilities and give the PSC such power?

Our state legislators must start making decisions that will provide a better future for our community and create an atmosphere that will encourage business expansion, development and jobs.

CARL P. PALADINO

Buffalo

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