The city council unanimously approved an 18 month moratorium on crypto mining activities in Plattsburgh. The moratorium only affects new Bitcoin mining operations and does not affect ones already existing in the city.
The idea of a moratorium was first introduced by mayor Colin Read in January after residents reported inflated electricity bills:
“I’ve been hearing a lot of complaints that electric bills have gone up by $100 or $200. You can understand why people are upset.”
Plattsburgh benefits cheap electricity provided by a hydroelectric dam located on the Saint Lawrence River. While residents usually pay $0.045 per kilowatt hour (kWh), industries including Bitcoin mining operations only have to pay $0.02 cents/kWh.
The biggest Bitcoin mining operation in the city used 10 percent of Plattsburgh’s 104 megawatt hour (Mwh) electricity allotment in January and February. Speaking to Vice, Read said that he'd seen proposals that suggested using 20 to 30 Mwh of electricity for Bitcoin mining operations. “We don't have that,” said Read.
Over the course of the next 18 months, city officials will be working with residents and local mining operations to find a solution to the energy problem that will keep residents’ energy bills low, while allowing businesses to come to the town.
One proposed solution is to make miners pay for overages of the city’s power budget or increase the rates per kWh for miners.
Tom Pillsworth, a local resident and partner in a Bitcoin mining enterprise in the city, said that, “It would never cost the Plattsburgh citizens any more money to let more miners come in here because the miners are willing to pay for those overages… The miners are more than willing to pay.”
Small towns with low energy costs have become a destination for mining companies who flock to rural areas in which low costs per kWh make it easier for them to turn a profit.