Legislative Memos

Memorandum in Opposition - S.5305-B (Harckham)

S.5305-B (Harckham) - AN ACT to amend the public service law, in relation to the transfer or
lease of closed electric generators; and in relation to payment of prevailing wages of affected
employees of the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant

The Independent Power Producers of New York, Inc. (IPPNY) is a trade association representing
companies involved in the development of electric generating facilities, the generation, sale, and
marketing of electric power, and the development of natural gas facilities in the State of New York.
IPPNY Member companies produce the majority of New York's electricity, utilizing almost every
generation technology available today such as wind, solar, natural gas, oil, hydro, coal, biomass, and

IPPNY opposes S.5305-B (Harckham). This bill would require the New York State Public Service
Commission (PSC) to approve the transfer of a “closed electric generator” to another entity. The term
“closed electric generator” is not defined. The legislation would require the transfer and
decommissioning of a closed electric generator to provide that its employees be retained by the
successor entity and paid the prevailing wage. The bill would require that the construction work
involving the closure and decommissioning of a closed electric generator would be done pursuant to a
project labor agreement. The legislation specifically would require employees at the Indian Point
Nuclear Power Plant to be paid prevailing wages. The bill would require the successor owner of the
Indian Point facility to retain its workforce. The legislation would require the Department of Labor to
oversee the purchase, sale and employment practices of Indian Point.

The bill would inappropriately extend the jurisdiction of the PSC to activities that are beyond the
operation of power plants, given that a closed electric generator no longer would be generating
electricity. The PSC’s jurisdiction currently ends when power plants retire. The transfer of the involved
property no longer is in the energy realm and should be treated like any other industrial property
transfer without the additional unneeded PSC approval.

The legislation conflicts with, and is pre-empted by, federal labor law. Power plant owners that do not
receive State subsidies, as a result, are not subject to prevailing wage requirements, since they do not
have a State contract. To the extent that renewable energy projects have a contract with the New York
State Energy Research and Development Authority for the purchase of renewable energy credits under
the Clean Energy Standard, those agreements already require the payment of prevailing wage. Private
companies that do not receive any State assistance cannot be required to pay dictated wages.

Regarding the Indian Point Energy Center, in 2017, the State of New York, including the PSC, and
Entergy Corporation (the facility’s current owner) entered into a legally binding agreement to retire the
Indian Point facility. The retirement announcement included a commitment to help employees relocate
to other opportunities within the Entergy system. In April of this year, Entergy announced that the Indian
Point facility is being sold to Holtec International for decommissioning; Holtec is a privately-held
company, and the standards for the application of prevailing wage do not apply. The announcement of
the transfer of the facility to Holtec included a commitment to hire Entergy’s employees at Indian Point
whose services are required for decommissioning.

For the reasons stated above, IPPNY opposes S.5305-B (Harckham).