“The maintenance and refueling will cost $100 million
One of the two power-generating units at Indian Point has been shut down for a $100 million maintenance project, parent company Entergy said Monday morning.
Entergy said the nuclear power plant’s Unit 3 will undergo refueling and maintenance after being in operation for 453 continuous days, remaining online 96 percent of the time and generating 16.9 million megawatt hours. The project is the second-to-last planned maintenance, as the unit is set to be shut down four years from now.
“Both Indian Point Unit 3 and Unit 2 continue to operate safely and reliably, and people can be confident in our commitment to maintaining outstanding performance,” said plant Vice President Tony Vitale in a statement. “Indian Point 3 recorded a reliable run of service in 2016, benefiting millions of New Yorkers with clean and safe energy.”
Earlier this year, Entergy and Gov. Andrew Cuomo reached a deal to shutter the more than 50-year-old Buchanan power plant entirely by April 30, 2021, a win for environmentalists who have sought to shutter the power plant since it opened, and Cuomo, who has called the plant a “ticking time bomb.”
Unit 2 will stay online during this period. Entergy said that unit has been online for 250 consecutive days. That unit is set to shut down by April 30, 2020.
The planned closure has led some to wonder where New Yorkers, already beset by some of the highest energy prices in the country, will get their electricity, and caused concern in Buchanan and Cortlandt where taxes from Indian Point make significant contributions to their budgets.
Additionally, come April 1, state ratepayers will be hit with an extra $2 per month charge in their electric bills to finance the bailout of three upstate nuclear power plants.
On Monday, the Public Utility Law Project, which opposes the bailout, released an analysis showing that Westchester County school districts could see annual increases totaling more than $1.5 million in their electric bills over the first two years of the 12-year bailout plan.
Topping the Westchester districts is New Rochelle, which could see annual increases of up to $100,000, according to the study. Next is Mount Vernon, which could see a nearly $90,000 annual increase and White Plains at more than $81,000.
The controversial plan to save the upstate power plants — two in Oswego County and a third near Rochester — was approved by the state Public Service Commission this summer.
It has the backing of the Cuomo Administration, which views nuclear power as a clean, carbon-free source of power as the state moves toward a greater reliance on renewable energy sources like wind and solar in the decades to come.
State officials have criticized the group’s findings, saying they are “doubtful and speculative” and assume energy prices will not fluctuate over the next 12 years. And, they say, the analysis fails to account for costs borne by ratepayers if the three upstate plants were to shut down immediately.
The group also looked at how much cities and towns in Westchester will pay to cover additional costs for their electrical needs.
At the top was Yonkers, which could see annual increases of nearly $210,000 during the first two years of the plan. Next was White Plains, whose electric costs could increase by $76,000 and New Rochelle with an estimated $56,000.
It’s likely that little of the power produced by the plants will reach users in Westchester County and New York City.
Last month, two state lawmakers introduced measures that would put the brakes on the bailout plan while other, less costly options are explored.
“I support Gov. Cuomo’s goal to reduce energy emissions in New York,” said State Sen. Tony Avella, a Queens Democrat. “What I don’t support is including a $7.6 billion subsidy for a single corporation paid for by New York ratepayers already grappling with some of the highest utility bills in the country.”
It has the support of Blair Horner, the executive director of NYPIRG. “This bill will give the public and the legislature time to study the issues carefully, which was not done in the governor’s first go round,” Horner said.”
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