State Assemblywoman Barbra Lifton has joined the fight to close a power plant in Lansing.
Lifton is leading a coalition of lawmakers who are fighting against a plan to keep the Cayuga Power plant in Lansing operating.
The coal-fired plant suspended operations in 2012 after cheap natural gas undercut electricity prices.
The operators are looking for NYSEG to pay over $104 million to retrofit the facility to burn natural gas.
NYSEG is opposed and instead wants to spend $56 million to upgrade power lines in the area.
The state’s Public Service Commission is considering whether to order the plant’s closure or approve the natural-gas retrofitting for the plant. The PSC says there is a 300-megawatt electricity shortfall during peak demand and has ordered the facility to stay open through 2017 with funding from a NYSEG surcharge. Lifton says ratepayers are paying $4 million a month to keep the plant open.
Lifton says the bailout sets a precedent for other coal-fired plants and wants the state to develop a plan to help transition communities like Lansing that will feel the loss of tax dollars from the plant.
Last year the plant paid $1.3 million in taxes to Lansing schools and $550 thousand to local governments and the Lansing Fire District.