Cohocton officials withdrew the town from an agreement with NYSEG Monday, August 15, after costs for an energy-efficiency program unexpectedly jumped close to $1,000.

Cohocton officials withdrew the town from an agreement with NYSEG Monday, August 15, after costs for an energy-efficiency program unexpectedly jumped close to $1,000.
The program, initially entered by the town in its June meeting, would have cut energy costs with new fixtures and efficient lighting sources.
The nearly-doubled cost for the town can be traced to the state Department of Labor’s insistence on municipalities and fire districts paying prevailing union wages for the labor, according to town officials.
The initial cost for the town in June was set at $1,051.74 for installing efficient lighting systems in the town hall in Atlanta. With the payment for prevailing wages, plus a $250 administrative fee, the cost jumped to $2,035.17, which town officials said was too high to be beneficial.
“At this point, I don’t see where it’s cost-effective for us. The pay back would be way too long,” said Supervisor Jack Zigenfus.
Approximately 70 percent of the total cost would be covered by payments made to the Public Service Commission on taxpayers’ energy bills, according to Zigenfus. That fraction on each bill goes to NYSEG for this program.
In the initial agreement, NYSEG was paying for $2,272 for the installation. And while NYSEG would have hired the contractors, it would have been the town that paid the higher prevailing union wages.
In an added wrinkle to the situation, municipalities who already completed the program wouldn’t have to pay the higher rates, while those who entered the program but hadn’t completed the work, like Cohocton, will have to chip in the extra money.
Having NYSEG cover the material costs and town maintenance employees was also rejected by the company, added the supervisor.
Zigenfus said he’s planning on contacting state Sen. Tom O’Mara (R-C, Big Flats) and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R-Corning) to see if they can help the situation with the Department of Labor and see if the department’s decision can be rescinded.
This is the second run-in with a state department Cohocton has had this summer. The town’s summer program, which bused children, ran into snags with the state Department of Health’s day camp regulations. The town eventually stopped busing children to the program, and numbers declined 20 percent.