State Public Service Commission works to remove secrecy surrounding power plants

Kate O'Connell
October 18, 2013

The state Public Service Commission (PSC) has come under scrutiny in recent weeks with claims that there’s a lack of transparency in its proceedings. The commission’s handling of the future of two coal-fired power plants in upstate New York has been particularly criticized.

Opposing solutions for the Cayuga and Dunkirk power plants are being considered.

The options are to either upgrade transmission lines or repower the facilities with natural gas.

Heavily redacted cost and pricing data contained in both plans has previously been withheld due to claims from energy companies that it contains sensitive trade secrets.

Now, the PSC has ruled that data must be disclosed to the public in full.

Attorney Helen Slottje, who filed a Freedom of Information request to access the additional information, says the ruling is a step in the right direction. “It’s encouraging that the PSC did not simply deny our request and sort of blindly accept that all of these documents are trade secrets. What remains a concern, there’s only one other state in the nation that doesn’t require disclosure and doesn’t apply lobbying rules to their PSC.”

Both companies vying to repower the coal-plants with natural gas, N-R-G Energy and Cayuga Operating Company, are appealing the decision.