Ortt and Senate Republicans present energy plan with focus on affordability, reliability

Provided photo: Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt speaks at the podium during a news conference in Albany on MondayHe is joined by members of the Senate Republican Conference and, from left: Wayne Stritsman, founder of Best Fire Hearth & Patio in 1977; and Richard Ellenbogen, president of Allied Converters.

Posted 28 February 2023 at 10:46 am

Press Release, Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt

ALBANY – New York State Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt, members of the Senate Republican Conference, and statewide energy stakeholders on Monday unveiled a package of smart energy policies to pursue a cleaner energy future.

The plan puts affordability and reliability first for New York ratepayers, in sharp contrast to some of the radical proposals coming out of Albany.

“Albany’s radical energy proposals are unrealistic, unaffordable and unforgiving for the everyday hardworking New Yorker,” Ortt said. “At a time when our economy is unstable and many of our businesses are still struggling to get back on their feet, we should be focusing on providing much-needed relief, not extreme climate policies at the taxpayers’ expense. Seeking a cleaner energy future does not have to involve outright prohibitions on reliable, affordable energy. It should involve common sense, transparency, and affordability for all New Yorkers.”

Outlined in the Governor’s Executive Budget proposal, Albany’s radical climate agenda would completely prohibit the installation of natural gas, propane and fuel oil hookups in new and existing buildings no later than 2035. These devastating bans on reliable, affordable energy sources includes deadlines of:

  • December 31, 2025 for new one family residential buildings of any height or multi-family residential buildings of three stories or fewer;
  • December 31, 2028 for new multi-family residential buildings more than three stories or new commercial buildings;
  • January 1, 2030 for existing one family residential buildings of any height or multi-family buildings of three stories or fewer; and
  • January 1, 2035 for existing multi-family residential buildings more than three stories or commercial buildings.

In addition, the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the New York New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) would have authority establish an economy-wide “Cap and Invest” program for greenhouse gas emissions, which will mean new taxes and extra burdens on ratepayers and businesses.

To make matters worse, the Executive Budget’s “Public Renewables ‘Lite’” would give authority to the New York Power Authority to plan, design, develop, finance, construct, own, operate, maintain, improve, alone or jointly with other entities, renewable energy generating projects. This would effectively allow for all-government takeovers of private sector business projects, and chart a dangerous path where state government becomes the only supplier of electricity in New York.

The New York Senate Republican Conference has proposed several affordable solutions in pursuing a cleaner energy future, such as:

  • Independent cost studies and full transparency;
  • Supporting diverse energy sources;
  • Keep needed power supply online to ensure reliability of our grid; and
  • Repealing and opposing and anti-market mandates on consumers.

“I’m an engineer, not a politician – so I have a different perspective on New York’s energy plan than most of the people in Albany,” said Richard Ellenbogen, president of Allied Converters. “It’s more about the science and less about the money. But having been an engineer at Bell Laboratories in their power systems lab, and having run my own manufacturing business for over four decades, I have a fundamental understanding that without the money, you can’t do the science. I decarbonized my business and my home two decades ago. I have been living the electric lifestyle for two decades, which is where New York State is trying to go. While the state’s intentions are good, and I would love to see the energy plan succeed, unfortunately I can safely say that New York State’s plan is a disaster waiting to happen, because the math and the physics just don’t work.”

“While New Yorkers are willing to do their fair share regarding climate change, the current proposal to eliminate fossil fuels connections to new homes by 2025, and with reliance solely on renewables alone for home heating by 2035 lacks the reliability and safety New Yorkers deserve,” said Wayne Stritsman, founder of a family business, Best Fire Hearth & Patio. “Winters in New York are cold and unpredictable and power outages happen way too often and last way too long. Fuel choice offers us the opportunity for a backup heat source to protect our families when the unexpected happens. Homeowners want and appreciate back up heat. No one should be left out in the cold.”