Entergy Corp.'s New York subsidiaries have filed comments with the New York State Public Service Commission regarding a proposed reliability contingency plan meant to address the premature retirement of the Indian Point Energy Center. The RCP, filed jointly by Con Edison and the New York Power Authority at the direction of the New York PSC, proposes to immediately begin billing New York electric customers at least $800 million for a series of electric transmission projects, along with another energy efficiency program, to address the potential impacts on the electric grid in the event the Nuclear Regulatory Commission ultimately declines to issue renewed licenses for Indian Point. According to the RCP, customers throughout New York State would be billed for the projects – including those who live upstate and on Long Island.
In their comments, the Entergy companies urged the New York PSC to require the utilities to submit more information prior to taking any actions that will raise customers' electric rates. "The RCP fails to acknowledge the substantial likelihood that Indian Point will continue to operate, it lacks sufficient information for a meaningful review of the proposed projects or other alternatives, and it fails to demonstrate that – with a price tag of at least $800 million – it is the most cost-effective solution for New York electric customers," said Mike Twomey, vice president of external affairs for Entergy Wholesale Commodities.
According to the most recently published data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration for 2012 (covering the period from Jan. 1, 2012, through Nov. 30, 2012), New York residential customers paid the highest electric rates in the continental United States – and nearly 50 percent higher than the national average. "Rather than asking New York customers to pay hundreds of millions of dollars for a contingency plan that might not be needed, New York could support the license renewal effort for Indian Point now pending at the NRC to help ensure that this safe, clean, and reliable resource remains part of New York's energy portfolio," Twomey said.
On the issue of whether the RCP projects could be replacements for Indian Point, Twomey said: "The projects have been labeled as alternatives to Indian Point, but they are not replacements for the facility -- they would not replace the substantial economic and air quality benefits that Indian Point provides. At best, these projects might alleviate some of the reliability consequences of losing Indian Point, but only at a significant cost. Moreover, because the RCP does not include adequate information, it is impossible for the New York PSC to determine the degree to which these projects would even address potential reliability consequences."
Since purchasing Indian Point more than 10 years ago, Entergy has focused on improving and maintaining the facility, including making investments of more than $1 billion to enhance the reliability, security, and safety of the facility. Entergy filed a joint license renewal application with the NRC in 2007 and it continues to actively pursue the matter.