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Power payments surge for Central New Yorkers after record electricity demand

By ANNA MEILER

VILLAGE OF FRANKFORT, N.Y. (WKTV) -- When Central New Yorkers open their electric bills next month, they'll get an unpleasant surprise.

New York saw record demands for electricity in January, so everyone is going to see an increase in their bills. But, municipalities are facing a unique challenge.

"I've never seen numbers like this in the 12 years I've been in political office," said Frank Moracco, mayor of the Village of Frankfort.

After a month of temperatures dipping below zero, the villages of Frankfort, Mohawk and Ilion all went over their allotted amount of power for the month.

So they were forced to purchase supplemental power from the open market where natural gas increased 20 fold. In the Village of Mohawk, costs went up about 80 percent. Frankfort's more than doubled and Ilion is looking at nearly triple the cost.

Now the mayor fears Frankfort will lose the incentive of cheap power to draw businesses to the area.

"We continue at this rate why would anybody consider moving to Central New York. We have to be more competitive and this right here is not giving us that edge," said Moracco.

The full amount has to be paid at the end of February. So, Frankfort is planning on bonding for the money, Mohawk is borrowing from the village general fund and Ilion has enough to pay up front. But that money has to be repaid and municipalities can't spread the costs out over time. Residents will fill the full hit in March.

"We'll deal on a case by case basis to see how we can help them or whatever help is needed out there. There's Catholic charities and other organizations they may have to turn to for some financial support," said Moracco.

Municipal officials hope a combination of warmer temperatures and energy saving inside the home will lead to lower prices in the future.

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