Charged Compatability

BPU, TitanX Renew Flex-Rate Agreement

From left back row, Kristofor Sellstrom, Jamestown Board of Public Utilities electrical engineer; Dan Kling, TitanX Jamestown maintenance manager; Lena Nordberg, TitanX vice president of human resources; Joe Jackson, TitanX Jamestown plant manager; Paresh Madhya, TitanX financial director; front row, Sam Teresi, Jamestown mayor and BPU board president; Matt Moore, TitanX Jamestown president; Andrew F. Johnson Jr., TitanX North American director of human resources; and David L. Leathers, BPU general manager; signing the newest flex-rate agreement between the BPU and TitanX Tuesday. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities flex-rate program, designed with the objective of local economic preservation and development, has renewed another agreement with a local manufacturer.

On Tuesday, BPU and TitanX officials renewed their flex-rate agreement through Oct. 31, 2022. The signing extends the flex-rate agreement between the two parties, which was first signed in October 2010 and then continued in October 2014.

The BPU’s flex-rate agreement program was developed to enhance and preserve the community’s economy by offering lower electric rates to large industrial and manufacturing companies located in the BPU’s electric territory, which agree to continue to invest in their facilities and workforce.

The flex-rate tariff was developed by the BPU and approved by the state Public Service Commission to help the Jamestown area attract new industry, and to support existing commercial and industrial customers. Participating manufacturers commit to retaining a certain number of jobs and to continue to invest in their facilities in exchange for reduced energy costs.

The BPU’s flex-rate program weighs the manufacturers’ commitments to refurbish or adding on to a facility, to expand product or production lines, to invest in technological advances in system processes and/or to invest in other projects deemed significant and appropriate by the utility.

“TitanX is a global group owned by Tata, based in Mumbai, India,” said David L. Leathers, BPU general manager. “A new major contract awarded to TitanX went into full production in 2017 in Mexico. As a result of this new contract, the TitanX Board of Directors designated Jamestown as the North American headquarters for TitanX. With TitanX plants in Sweden, Brazil, China and Mexico, the Jamestown BPU must do what we can to strengthen TitanX’s presence in the Jamestown area through programs such as the flex-rate agreement.”

TitanX is an independent group which focuses on the design, manufacture and sale of engine cooling components and modules for medium and heavy duty trucks, buses and off-road applications. The company began here in Jamestown in 1914 when Gabrielson Manufacturing was founded by Oscar Lenna. Gabrielson produced automotive radiators, washing machines and performed metal manufacturing. In 1947, the company was renamed the Blackstone Corporation, building engine cooling products in Jamestown, Canada, Mexico and Sweden.

A Paris-based automotive parts manufacturer named Valeo purchased Blackstone in 1989 and continued to produce engine cooling products under the Valeo name. The Jamestown facility concentrated on the production of engine cooling products for medium and heavy duty trucks, buses and special applications. In 2008, Valeo sold the local plant to a Stockholm, Sweden, group that named the new operation TitanX.

In December 2016, all TitanX plants were sold to Tata. Its division, Tata Auto Comp, now manages TitanX. TACO focuses on parts for cars, trucks, buses and special applications.

“One hundred percent of our products are exported to customers outside of New York state,” said Andrew F. Johnson Jr., TitanX North American human resources director. “We are at a competitive disadvantage manufacturing products to send out of state, with higher operating and transportation costs. It is critical that in this very competitive market, we do everything possible to remain a contender. The BPU’s flex-rate program is part of our effort to stand the test in this marketplace and to maintain manufacturing operations in New York state.”

Major customers for TitanX includes Daimler Trucks North America LLC, Volvo, Mack, GM, Blue Bird, Thomas Buildt, Isuzo and Prevost. TitanX employs 218 people full-time and 12 part-time positions at its Jamestown facility.

“I am pleased to note that, at the direction of our chief executive officer, we have established a team to focus on new business opportunities in Jamestown,” Johnson said. “We already are seeing positive results, with increased aftermarket sales and interest from new customers such as TICO.”

Sam Teresi, Jamestown mayor, said in a competitive industry, TitanX continues to succeed in the greater Jamestown community.

“We are gratified that our area continues as the North American headquarters for TitanX and that a group is focusing on new business opportunities for the Jamestown facility,” he said. “Anything the city and its Board of Public Utilities can do to assist TitanX is extremely important.”

The BPU also has flex-rate agreements with Anderson Precision, Hope’s Custom Crafted Windows & Doors, Monofrax, SKF Aeroengine and Truck-Lite Co.