New Electricity Tariffs Introduced for Cryptocurrency Miners in Upstate New York
Cryptocurrency miners face newer tariff rates in New York after the city’s State Public Service Commission (PSC) approved new rules qualifying high-density load customers under an individual service agreement.
Mining Qualifies Under Service Agreement
As reported by Bloomberg on July 13, 2018, the PSC introduced the latest electricity bill for the Massena Electric Department, entailing all cryptocurrency miners and high-density load customers apply for a service agreement if their usage exceeds 30 kilowatts, and the utility gains significant benefit by the high requirement.
John B. Rhodes, Chairman of the PSC, stated the agreement aims to attract new companies to the region while balancing the needs of existing customers. He further noted the “abundance of low-cost electricity in Upstate New York,” which effectively provides an opportunity to “serve the needs of existing customers and to encourage economic development in the region.”
The move comes after the New York Municipal Power Agency (NYMPA) filed a recent petition after concerns that cryptocurrency miners, and other high-density-load customers, had a negative impact on the local jurisdiction.
In March 2018, the commission passed a law which allowed municipal power authorities to sell electricity at a higher rate to cryptocurrency mining companies.
Interestingly, in February 2018, Massena county received a $165 million investment to launch a cloud-based cryptocurrency mining operation that would employ over 150 people, as reported by Cryptoslate.
Meanwhile, the official announcement acknowledged the latest development:
“As a result, the potential exists for Massena to receive significant revenues if new cryptocurrency companies set up shop in the community. If that were to occur, the utility would be required to defer the revenues for the benefit of ratepayers.”
Hydro-Electric Cryptocurrency Mining
While the Massena dictum embraces the mining industry, city governments largely remain wary of the power-intensive operation.
In neighboring Canada, Quebec passed a regulation that tripled electricity prices for cryptocurrency miners in June 2018, citing rising concerns of high energy usage. The move came despite Hydro-Quebec, the region’s largest electricity provider, courting the mining sector to leverage the abundance of cheap electricity and optimal climate for its benefit.
Using hydroelectric has enabled municipal utilities in upstate New York to provide customers with low-cost energy, which attracted miners to the region in the first place. Massena citizens pay 3.9 cents a kilowatt hour, as per data collated by Massena Electric. In comparison, the average American spends 12 cents a kilowatt hour, as National Public Radio calculates.
Notably, in March 2018, authorities from the small city of Plattsburg in upstate New York were the first to enforce a moratorium on the power-hungry mining industry for 18 months, after providing electricity only 2.6 cents a kilowatt-hour at the time. However, the Department of Public Service allowed the Plattsburg county, along with 36 other municipal agencies, to charge higher rates to mining businesses for their tremendous electricity usage.
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