Updated 03/15/2012 08:43 PM
NRG energy plant in Dunkirk could close
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Dunkirk, NY --- Facing the possibility of NRG Energy Plant in Dunkirk closing its doors for good, city officials met Thursday to come up with ways to save 145 jobs, and prevent an annual loss of forty million dollars to the area.
"I'm sure you know, we'd definitely have to look at our tax structure, our assessments, just the local businesses those members, the workforce supports in the community," said Dunkirk Mayor Anthony Dolce.
Citing a sharp drop in natural gas prices, which results in plummeting power prices, NRG announced Wednesday it had to file a mothball notice to the State Public Service Commission.
The move now enables the commission to conduct a reliability study on the plant, and allows NRG to continue to look for ways to sell power to keep the plant open.
"We are doing everything we can as a management team of this company to ensure that that facility lasts on a long term basis," said Lee Davis, Regional President of NRG Energy, Inc. "The second thing is that the politicians that represent all of the folks in the local community around Dunkirk are also doing their part," Davis said.
To ensure the plant remains open, State Senator Cathy Young has sponsored a bill, recommending the New York Power Authority enter into an agreement to buy power from NRG. The measure has passed the senate, and now Young is looking for support from the Assembly and the Governor.
In a statement, Young said: "We need the Governor and the Assembly Speaker to support our proposal in order for it to work, Governor Cuomo has shown great leadership and understanding of Western New York's economic needs. I am hopeful that he understands how crucial keeping these plants open is to our future."
Which is why Dolce is calling on residents to start a letter writing campaign to Governor Cuomo calling for his support to keep the plant open.
"We'll be doing everything we can to encourage the public to take part, the saying is strength in numbers, and we're hoping those letters are at least a first step in this short term solution," Dolce said.
The Public Service Commission has up to six months to complete its study of the plant, before releasing its findings to the company.