“Storm Response Unacceptable with Consequences” Time to Municipalize?

A Matrix type Utility such as the one we have with the Long Island Power Authority and National Grid has proven itself to be an unworkable solution for Long Island Ratepayers. The only right solution is to transform the existing LIPA structure to a full service municipality that has clear accountability and transparency.

PS The LIPA Board of trustees is poised to make its decision of extending the same structure as exists now for the next ten years on September 22.

Guv blasts LIPA for Tropical Storm Irene Response

September 2, 2011 4:27 PM

LIPA worker coordinated with an electrical crew out

Photo credit: Howard Schnapp |      LIPA worker coordinated with an electrical crew out of Maine on Sunrise Lane and Flax Lane in Levittown. (Sept. 1, 2011)

ALBANY –  ALBANY — Gov. Andrew  M. Cuomo on Friday lashed out at the Long Island Power Authority and National Grid, saying it was unacceptable that thousands of Island residents are still without electricity after Tropical Storm Irene.

Cuomo called the response of the authority and the power company “not good enough” and said there could be consequences.

“In the short-term, National Grid and LIPA must do everything they can to restore power to the remaining customers without service, and review how to more quickly restore service the next time a storm hits,” the governor said.

“In the long-term, I will advise the LIPA trustees to consider this experience, and the utility’s past performance responding to major storms, when National Grid seeks to renew its contract with LIPA,” he continued. “In short, if National Grid hope to renew its contract, they better get the power on now.”

Earlier, LIPA said it expects 99 percent of customers who lost power because of Tropical Storm Irene to be restored by Sunday. LIPA said 7,500 crews would work through the weekend.

LIPA, which continues to work with the aim of having 90 percent of outages restored by Friday night, was hit by a setback when a utility pole fell across Sunrise Highway in Yaphank around 10:30 a.m., closing traffic in both directions. Police said they had warned LIPA about the pole Thursday.

The closure backed up traffic on Sunrise for miles early Friday, a key travel time for Labor Day vacationers along a primary route to the East End. The pole was cleared by midafternoon.

LIPA spokeswoman Vanessa Baird-Streeter said there were “no LIPA wires involved” in the downed pole.

“These were cable wires that were clipped by a large truck driving on Sunrise Highway,” she said Friday afternoon. “We had been out to the site yesterday to stabilize a broken pole. The road has been closed for traffic while cable wires are removed [and] replaced. A new pole has already been set.”

Some 66,000 customers remained without power as of 4 p.m. Friday.

“The end of the restoration is in sight,” LIPA chief Michael Hervey said.

Additional crews continue to arrive on Long Island, said John Bruckner, president of National Grid’s Long Island electric operations. He declined to discuss how holiday pay provisions for workers might increase costs, and Hervey has repeatedly declined to discuss costs of the cleanup as it begins to wind down.

LIPA confirmed Friday morning that one big problem with communications early in the storm involved a Verizon telephone system that experienced incompatibilities with AT&T cellphones. Call volumes swamped the system, but those with AT&T cellphones had a particularly difficult time getting through. Hervey said Verizon was working overtime with LIPA to help resolve the issue, which continues.

Bruckner said power has been restored to all but 24 Long Island schools that had been without power, and said all of them are expected to be back by next week, when many districts reopen after the summer break.

Hervey said progress on outages would begin to slow as crews fan out into individual neighborhoods.

Customers like Ken Waldhof of Westbury can attest to that. After crews cleared trees Thursday, he was told that night that his was an “individual” outage.

“It sent me through the roof,” he said, adding he suspects it could be a day or more before crews get to him.

“Spending the night in the dark and listening to a ballgame on the radio gets old,” he said.


About lipaoversight

LIPA Oversight Committee was created to analyze the rates and practices to determine if it is working in the best interests of the Suffolk County ratepayers
This entry was posted in customer satisfaction, lipa, long island power authority, municipalization, national grid, Storm Costs. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to “Storm Response Unacceptable with Consequences” Time to Municipalize?

  1. Rob from LI says:

    One of LIPA’s excuses went something along the line of “well we had to dust off a 2 decade old emergency plan”. That seems extremely odd to me – last year they felt it necessary to spend $35 million to be ready for Earl because it was so imminent but they never felt it necessary to look over their emergency plan? I guess they were planning on spending another $10 million to have someone from out of state come “dust it off” after the fact

    I hear so many people giving LIPA “a break”. Sorry, they are my second highest bill – at one point I was paying over $300 a month. My power went out twice in 60 days BEFORE the hurricane. By comparison my mother pays the Suffolk County Water Authority $30 every 90 days and the water never stopped flowing. SCWA had all the generators ready to go and never missed a beat. So before you give LIPA “the benefit of the doubt” think about how many hours a month you work to pay your LIPA bill.

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