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November 14, 2012

Nassau County Comptroller Maragos Asks Governor Cuomo to Repair LIPA Before the Next Big Storm

The County’s Economy Cannot Afford Another Billion Dollar Loss

Mineola, NY – In a letter to New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos asked for urgent action to repair the Long Island Power Authority’s management team and make permanent the temporary fixes LIPA has performed to the electrical system before the next major storm. Comptroller Maragos estimated Nassau County has lost up to $1 billion in consumer sales since Superstorm Sandy struck Long Island and stressed that we cannot wait for the Moreland Commission investigation to be completed before significant changes are made at LIPA. In his letter, Comptroller Maragos stated his support for the Governor’s appointing the commission to study and plan for the long term needs but offered significant recommendations to make our electric supply more reliable, with greater accountability and lower rates.

"The sad reality is that Long Island residents and our local economy have suffered significant damage,” Comptroller Maragos said. “We realized how dependent we have become to a power supply monopoly that has proven mismanaged and unprepared. We must not allow this situation to occur again when the next natural disaster strikes. I ask the Governor to fix immediately what we already know is wrong with LIPA.”

The Long Island economy is now hostage to LIPA’s ineffectiveness. The entire economy of the region cannot continue to be at the mercy of LIPA. The following recommendations were offered to the Governor to help fix LIPA before the next major storm wreaks havoc on our communities and to make our electric system more reliable with lower rates in the long term.

 

  • Install a top notch professional utility management team as soon as possible to take over LIPA. The Governor’s statements correctly concluded that the source of the extended outages was LIPA’s management and their lack of emergency preparation. The Long Island economy must never again suffer because of inept management at LIPA.  The resignation of Chief Operating Officer Michael Hervey presents the immediate opportunity to completely revamp the management at LIPA with top notch utility professionals.

  • Require LIPA to go back and make temporary repairs permanent. Utility professionals are aware that after Hurricane Irene temporary repairs were made to the infrastructure and possibly again now after Superstorm Sandy in order to get the power restored. LIPA must make these repairs permanent so that the next storm will not be as likely to bring down power to thousands of Long Islanders.

  •  Insource LIPA Operations. LIPA currently outsources its transmission system operations and maintenance to National Grid, a European Company, and recently decided to continue outsourcing to New Jersey’s PSE&G beginning in 2014. Transmission operation and maintenance are the core functions of a utility and must not be outsourced. The next time we have a regional disaster; Long Islanders must not be second priority to New Jersey residents. LIPA must assume the operational responsibility of its system and be accountable to its customers in Suffolk and Nassau Counties.

  • Deregulate the market for providing power on Long Island. The best long term solution for reliable electricity and lower rates is a competitive marketplace. The LIPA monopoly on Long Island is a relic whose time has passed. Power sourcing is already competitive. Transmission companies should be allowed to compete with a proviso that new transmission entrants install underground cabling. I am confident this would provide Long Island more reliable service at lower rates which will be a boost to our local economy and create thousands of new jobs. Deregulation occurred in the Cable Television industry. It can happen in the power transmission industry.

Comptroller George Maragos thanked the Governor for his keen commitment to help Long Island and offered his office and his extensive management business expertise to assist in restructuring and deregulating the LIPA electric monopoly to ensure lower rates and more reliable service.

PDF File Letter to the Governor