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Long Island Legislators Call For Adjustment Of Utility Program

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The Town of Southampton and state lawmakers from eastern Long Island want to challenge the region’s power authority for changes to a program that is supposed to save customers money. 

Community Choice Aggregation, known as CCA, is a program that a municipality can adopt that covers ratepayers in its area. The municipality could require all or some portion of electricity and gas come from renewable sources such as solar and wind. Also, it could seek competitive bids so ratepayers wouldn’t have to settle for the price set by the area’s utility.

But on Long Island, State Assemblyman Fred Thiele of Sag Harbor says the Long Island Power Authority charges an “adjustment” that would eliminate cost savings.

“LIPA has implemented a poison pill that makes this program financially unworkable on Long Island,” Thiele said.

A LIPA spokeswoman said the organization wants to ensure all customers bear a “proportionate cost” and so a customer who switches to a CCA on Long Island would be “smaller than in the rest of the state.”

That arrangement does not satisfy Thiele. So he proposed legislation to rein in LIPA.

“It is designed to fail. Long Islanders should be able to benefit from CCA under the same rules as the rest of New York state,” he said.

The Town of Southampton also plans to petition to get the authority to change its position. Lynn Arthur, energy chair of the town’s Green Sustainability Committee, says the authority is undermining CCA on Long Island.