DUNKIRK, N.Y. (WIVB) -
NRG Energy has promised to make $16.6 million worth of payments in lieu of taxes to Chautauqua County, the City of Dunkirk, and local schools over the next two years.
But the coal plant will reduce those payments, as per its PILOT agreement with Dunkirk, while its doors are temporarily closed.
Senator Charles Schumer called on the plant to continue to pay in full when it powers down. NRG is the largest taxpayer in the city. Schumer argues if the company reduces those payments, local taxpayers would be forced to make up for this lost revenue through higher taxes.
The company released this statement:
NRG has owned and operated the Dunkirk Station for 13 years and has spent a cumulative $227 million on plant upgrades. Annually, NRG contributes about $40 million in benefits locally. Over the past three years NRG has done this while losing a considerable amount of money.
Facing these continuing losses, NRG announced two months ago that we were "mothballing" the plant. We filed the mothball notice because the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) required the notice in order for NRG to seek a reliability contract with National Grid that could keep one of more of Dunkirk's four generating units online. In other words, we filed the notice so that we could continue our efforts to keep the plant running.
The PSC is currently conducting an analysis to determine if one or more of Dunkirk's units are needed for the reliability of the electrical system in Western New York. The PSC is expected to announce its findings by the end of September, although it could be announced earlier.
NRG has met and will continue to meet our obligations under the Dunkirk PILOT agreement under all circumstances. The PILOT agreement actually provides for lower, tiered payments in the event that any of the plant's four units are mothballed or retired.
Throughout this process, NRG has communicated regularly with the Chatauqua County Industrial Development Agency and Chatauqua County Executive Greg Edwards with respect to PILOT payments, plant employment and other issues. We have been working together for months on creative solutions that provide the best outcome for the community, plant employees and the taxing jurisdictions, and will continue.
We have also been in touch with the Governor's office, which has urged all parties to work collectively to find solutions to tax, employment and system reliability issues. They have supported our efforts and our approach. NRG appreciates the strong and unwavering support of the local community, which recognizes that NRG is doing everything possible to keep the Dunkirk plant in operation and at full employment. We also appreciate the efforts of State Senator Cathy Young, who has worked tirelessly to support the plant with legislation and other efforts.
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