- The cost of electricity in Plattsburgh went up by 50% after it became a popular place for crypto miners to set up shop
- Crypto miners not only cause an increase in power consumption but also bring in a noise and heat problem to Plattsburgh
- Plattsburgh to initiate regulations to curb noise next week
The mayor of Plattsburgh, New York, Colin Read recalls vividly the first time cryptocurrency miners came to the small town situated on the shores of Lake Champlain according to an article published by Forbes on October 31st.
Read says “All of a sudden our city was descended upon.”
The miners employed the use of high-speed, power-hungry computers to solve the complex mathematical puzzles associated with Proof of Work mining. They were drawn to the sleepy town due to its cheap power supply.
Cheap Power in Plattsburgh
The Mayor explains “We have some of the cheapest industrial power in the world, 2.7 cents per kilowatt.” He went on to say, “They came here for that reason alone. They use a lot of power and employ very few people.”
The cheap power is harnessed from the nearby St. Lawrence River via hydroelectricity. The electricity was initially used to power industries such as aluminum smelting, which has declined drastically. Plattsburgh has a monthly quota of cheap electricity which if exceeded, results in additional costs incurred buying power at higher rates than stipulated.
After the cryptocurrency miner’s set-up camp, Plattsburgh started exceeding the quota on a regular basis with electricity bills going up by as much as 50 percent.
City Council imposes a Moratorium
This shift in electrical bills led to the City Council imposing an 18-month extended moratorium on crypto mining activities, first of its kind in the country. This drew extensive coverage from media outlets ranging from the New York Times to RBS.
Read further said that there’s little they can do with the existing operations – “We’ll at least ensure the problem doesn’t grow worse and ratepayers are protected.”
With the regulation and moratorium in effect, the city is looking to curb further problems brought on by crypto-miners including heat and noise. “Our concern is the largest operators use all that power and dump huge amounts of heat into the atmosphere,” Read added. “A novel aspect of the new local law mandates they have to recycle a certain share of the power or heat generated.”
The new law is expected to go into effect in a week according to the mayor. However, the moratorium will remain in effect while the town designs ways to deal with the noise discrepancy.