Archive for October 3, 2009

The Kessel NYPA Watch, October 3, 2009 – By George J. Marlin

October 3, 2009

NYPA CUSTOMER ALERT: KESSEL EYES UPSTATE MONEY TO REVIVE DOWNSTATE POLITICAL CAREER

LIPA’s decision, reported by Mark Harrington in Newsday on Saturday, September 24, 2009, (www.newsday.com/long-island/nassau/lipa-will-not-buy-barrett-power-plant-in-island-park-1.1476123), not to buy National Grid’s Barrett power plant in Island Park for $70 million (annual property taxes, $34 million!) and the logical consequence—LIPA not buying any of the Grid plants—is a relief.

Kevin Law, LIPA’s CEO, once again put the interests of Long Island businesses and residents ahead of empire-building.  Law said he hasn’t seen any evidence to convince him that owning the other plants would be worth it.  “We can’t make a compelling financial business case to acquire it,” Law said, “even if it were offered for free.”  That’s a public servant taking the long view and acting like an adult.  Kudos to Law who is cleaning up the mess left by his predecessor, Richie Kessel.

Newsday also reported in that story that NYPA was a possible buyer for the National Grid plants.  The next day, Newsday editorialized that deep-pocketed NYPA could buy the plants and thereby lower rates on Long Island (http://www.newsday.com/opinion/oped/editorial-five-old-power-plants-and-the-future-of-long-island-1.1476207).  

Now, Street Corner Conservative pays LIPA’s high rates and would like to see rates controlled. We put a large part of the blame for the Island’s extortionate electric rates on Kessel.

Street Corner Conservative served on Governor Pataki’s LILCO Transition Team many years ago and has followed LIPA and Kessel since 1995.  Upstate businesses and ratepayers and legislators should consider themselves on notice that Kessel has designs to buy the National Grid plants using NYPA’s stronger balance sheet.  Having seen the movie before, we foresee Kessel promising lower rates and using that vow to return to the Long Island political scene.  Why upstate would allow NYPA to be hijacked to reverse the sky-high rates Richie favored Long Island with and to advance his political career is a mystery.

The political demise of Kessel’s promoter, our accidental Governor, David Paterson, will likely entice Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi to run for statewide office in 2010 and leave Kessel well-positioned to run for County Executive, a position he ran for in 1993 but lost resoundingly, according to The New York Times, in the Democratic primary.  Worst case, Kessel’s friend and best man, Joe Mondello, Chair of the Nassau County GOP, might arrange for Republican County Legislators to deliver Suozzi’s chair to Kessel and avoid the inconvenience of elections in which Kessel has a career record of 0-2.

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Street Corner notes the significant increase in calls, emails and notes from NYPA staff since President Obama defenestrated Governor Paterson last week.  Please keep your cards and letters coming.

THE KESSEL COUNTDOWN: 455 DAYS UNTIL RICHIE KESSEL IS FIRED BY THE NEW GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK.