NY Comptroller: LIPA Reforms Haven't Improved Service, Lowered Electricity Bills

Jul 24, 2015

FILE Photo- New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli
Credit AP Photo/Mike Groll, File

After Superstorm Sandy hit in October 2012, more than 900,000 Long Island Power Authority customers had their power knocked out, and more than 100,000 LIPA customers went without power for more than three weeks. That led Governor Andrew Cuomo to blame the LIPA for mismanagement.

In 2013, Cuomo signed a bill into law that would reform LIPA. It stripped LIPA of its power to actually run the utility, and LIPA started contracting out all the daily operations to a New Jersey company — PSEG.

Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said Thursday that after the reforms, LIPA ratepayers aren’t seeing a difference in their service — or their electricity bills.

"LIPA ratepayers are still paying among the highest costs for electricity in the nation," DiNapoli said, "The recent survey from the consumer satisfaction perspective shows that Long Islanders are still unhappy with the service."

When the state reformed LIPA in 2013, the Department of Public Service set up an office on Long Island to oversee LIPA and the companies that the it contracts out to.

DiNapoli said he wants to see that office inspecting more of LIPA’s facilities, and more of its financial records. He also said he wants the office to have more regulatory powers.

The Department of Public Service said Thursday that DiNapoli’s analysis is wrong, and that they have unprecedented oversight power.

The department says Long Islanders’ electricity rates were frozen between 2013 and 2015. In January, LIPA and PSEG asked to increase those rates by over 3% annually for the next three years starting in 2016.