NY Mohawks vote to create electric utility

The St. Regis Mohawk tribe will set up its own tribal electric utility.

Tribe members approved creation of their own electric utility by a margin of 445-102 during tribal elections Saturday.

It will cost about $13.7 million to build a power plant and distribution system on the reservation, which borders the U.S.-Canadian border in northern New York. The tribe would also have to pay National Grid a $4.3 million exit fee.

Mohawk leaders say running their own power plant will result in lower delivery rates immediately and protect the tribe from future rate increases while enhancing its sovereignty. About 11,000 residents live on the New York side of the reservation.

The Mohawks are joining at least nine other tribes who operate their own public utilities.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.