Attached and below is proposed guest editorial that I am submittingon behalf of State Senator George Maziarz who Chairs the StateSenate Committee on Energy and Telecommunications. The Senator has been reading about some of the controversy about the merger,and in his role as Chair of the Committee that oversees the utility companies in the Senate, he felt compelled to weigh in. In looking at the press coverage, and letters the editor that have been availablelocally, it appears that most sentiment is running in opposition. TheSenator view could offer some balance. Senator Maziarz representsthe 62nd Senate District that encompasses all of Niagara andOrleans Counties and part of Monroe County.
Matt Nelligan, Director of Operations and Public Policy Senator George Maziarz
Central Hudson-Fortis Merger is good for economy, good for jobs andgood for customersCharting a course for New York State’s energy industry that is bothreliable and affordable is a demanding challenge, one that requiresvision, courage – and common sense. As the chairman of the New York State Senate’s Energy and Telecommunications Committee, Idaily consider public policy decisions that must balance affordabilitywith the support necessary to properly incentivize such importantgoals as renewable energy, economic development andinfrastructure investments.In my role, I have had a chance to read the documents associatedwith the proposed merger of Fortis and Central Hudson Gas andElectric. My analysis has lead me to the conclusion that theDepartment of Public Service has, over the last year fully vetted thisprocess and that the merger should go forward.Let me be clear, that I do not come to this decision lightly. In fact, Ihave had areas of disagreement with Central Hudson in the past.One clear example happened last year, when I strongly disagreedwith the utility’s efforts to limit customers access to net metering. Ifiled comments with the Public Service Commission in oppositionand currently carry a bill to raise these caps in statute.