The people have spoken.
Residents of Plattsburgh, New York have had enough.
Last Thursday night (March 15, 2018), the city council approved an 18-month moratorium on new cryptocurrency mining operations.
The temporary ban will be used to figure out what to do with these ding dong miners using up all the electricity.
In a recent process, most cryptocurrencies require a “mining” process in which servers are used to guess the solution to a complex equation—the computer that gets the answer gets the newly minted coin. It takes a lot of electricity to be a miner, and the ones who are successful tend to use a large network of mining rigs.
To cut down on their energy expenses, miners have flocked to cities with cheap power and we’re just beginning to learn what cost that brings for the municipalities themselves.
At its most recent city council meeting, Plattsburgh took up the issue and decided that no new mining operations will be allowed for the next 18 months. Existing operations will not be affected by the moratorium.
According to Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read via his interview with Motherboard, his city has the “cheapest electricity in the world” thanks to its close proximity to a hydroelectric dam. The national average for electricity costs is just over 10 cents per kilowatt-hour; in Plattsburgh, it’s just 4.5 cents,”
“But the city decided to offer industrial operations an even better rate of 2 cents per kilowatt-hour. And then the miners came to town,” he added.
According to Motherboard, Plattsburgh gets 104 megawatt-hours of electricity per month and if it exceeds its allotment more has to be purchased on the open market at a significant premium.
In January alone, Plattsburgh used too much electricity and the bills for everyone in town rose, in some cases by $100 to $200. While this had been known to happen in the winter months, the state Public Service Commission (PSC) concluded that the average resident in Plattsburgh saw a $10 increase on their bill in January just because of two cryptocurrency companies. The largest operation, Coinmint, used about 10 percent of the city’s power in January and February.