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Long Island Power Regulators Look At Public Utility Option

Stephen Nessen

The Long Island Power Authority will consider moving to a fully public utility option in response to failures by its contractor, PSEG Long Island, to restore power after Tropical Storm Isaias this summer.

LIPA laid out its options in a report this week. They include a restructure of the current contract with PSEG Long Island to require more oversight, replacing the contract with a new company, or privatization.

New York State Assemblyman Fred Thiele of Sag Harbor said he’s supported the public option for years.

“It's the most accountable option. And obviously, it appears that it can save money. And it was the original intent of the law when the Legislature enacted it almost 35 years ago,” Thiele said.

Thiele said he’s confident more lawmakers will get behind the public option.

The report said ratepayers could save up to $815 million over 10 years if the public option goes into effect in 2022.

PSEG Long Island president Dan Eichhorn said the service during Isaias was “totally unacceptable” but the utility has worked hard to improve.

LIPA CEO Thomas Falcone blasted PSEG Long Island President Dan Eichhorn at a special meeting this week. Falcone said Eichhorn is hamstrung by corporate executives in New Jersey.

“My concern still sits there, that I don't think he has the authority to meet our needs. Because these are easy choices,” Falcone said.

Desiree reports on the lives of military service members, veterans, and their families for WSHU as part of the American Homefront project. Born and raised in Connecticut, she now calls Long Island home.