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    Watertown will start looking at selling hydroelectric power to residential customers

    January 17, 2023 - Craig Fox, Watertown Daily Times, N.Y.


      Jan. 16—WATERTOWN — The city will start studying how it can sell power from its hydroelectric plant on Marble Street directly to residents and businesses.

      City Council members are expected to approve a resolution Tuesday that would direct City Manager Kenneth A. Mix to "investigate and determine" how the city can go about selling electricity to residential and business consumers.

      The city's hydro consultant, Amber Energy US Inc., recommended selling electricity to residential consumers through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority's Community Choice Aggregation program.

      Councilman Cliff G. Olney III plans to introduce the resolution Tuesday night to proceed with the study.

      "This is going to be a first step," Councilman Olney said.

      The discussion comes after the city's hydroelectric task force last month recommended selling power as a way to generate revenue and help save money for residential consumers.

      Mr. Mix said he'll start "delving into" the matter and learn more about it.

      Three years ago, Mayor Jeffrey M. Smith put together the hydroelectric task force to find ways to offset the loss of a lucrative contract to sell hydro power to National Grid before the agreement ends in 2030.

      For years, city officials have warned about the city facing a fiscal cliff after the National Grid agreement expires.

      The mayor pointed out that the city's consultant determined that the city could generate between $550,000 and $4 million in revenue by selling power to them.

      "We're going to take a hit, but it will be much less of a hit," he said. "It'll lessen the blow."

      The task force also determined that the city could then market more products once the contract with National Grid ends, adding that it would need to take some steps before it could do that.

      In 1991, the city began the franchise agreement to sell electricity to National Grid. When the agreement expires, the power company will pay the city 34.78 cents per kilowatt-hour, much more than it will be valued on the open market.

      At the end of the agreement, the city will receive about $6 million a year. In 2022, the city received about $4 million from the power giant.


      (c)2023 Watertown Daily Times (Watertown, N.Y.)

      Visit Watertown Daily Times (Watertown, N.Y.) at

      Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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