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Long Island Power Authority Demands PSEG Outage Communication System Be Fixed

Courtesy of Th G from Pixabay

The Long Island Power Authority said the system that’s used by PSEG Long Island to communicate outages and power restoration has taken too long to be fixed. The system was to blame for the utility’s poor response to Tropical Storm Isaias last summer.

LIPA’s Board of Trustees met this week to give an update on the more than 140 recommendations made to fix communication failures at PSEG Long Island following Isaias.

CEO Tom Falcone said before the end of the year LIPA could either renegotiate its service contract with PSEG Long Island or consider several other utility companies instead.

“Great management is really important. And we should go with whatever structure gives the board and the public the assurance that we will have great management and great performing utility,” Falcone said. “There is nothing more expensive than bad management.”

Another fully public option would be for LIPA to manage power distribution themselves. They pay PSEG Long Island over $80 million a year to manage storm response and distribution.

Falcone said despite their choices the current communication system needs to be fixed.

“Those are very, very important. They’re timely. They need to be implemented quickly before the next storm season,” he said.

Dan Eichhorn, the chief operating officer of PSEG Long Island, said the system has already been upgraded to function better than it did before Isaias. Falcone said that should be the case after millions of dollars have been spent on their services. But the system still doesn’t meet expectations, Falcone said.

“PSEG was hampered in its restoration activities both by this fog of war caused by the failing systems and also inadequate backup planning,” Falcone said. “Every utility has to have good backup plans, and they have to be implementable, not just plans on a shelf.”

LIPA will hear testimony about their options at public hearings next week.

A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.