The Suffolk County Legislature’s LIPA Oversight Committee will be holding a public hearing on November 15th at 7:00 PM at the Hauppauge Legislative Auditorium. The purpose of this public forum is to solicit and discuss public feedback with respect to numerous LIPA issues the Oversight Committee has been reviewing in addition to recent events.
Last Month the LIPA Board of Trustees made a monumental decision with LIPA’s future structure by more or less deciding to remain with the same structure. Additionally, numerous concerns and issues have emerged in the media on the operations and practices of the LIPA. In response, the Governor has ordered the State Inspector General to audit LIPA, NYS legislators have introduced bills to impose regulatory oversight of the utility, and many experts have offered opinions on what actions to take. It is critical for the public and local leadership to weigh in and be heard.
Some of the issues the Oversight Committee has been reviewing include:
- The Cost of Electric Service – what is the true cost of maintaining and operating the electric grid on LI and is this being managed effectively?
- Storm Repair Costs – How should the questionable costs for Hurricane Earl and other storms be dealt with and is there possible fraud involved that could compromise FEMA reimbursements?
- Energy Efficiency and Renewable Programs – LIPA plans to invest $1 billion over ten years in ratepayer funded programs that should save energy, save money, and promote renewable technologies – but how is LIPA measuring the success of these programs and what independent authority is verifying that success? How can ratepayers be sure these programs are worth the investment?
- Contracts – the Management Services Agreement (MSA) and Power Supply Agreement (PSA) that LIPA functions under are worth billions of ratepayer dollars and up for renewal. Is the decision process for renewing with National Grid or going with other providers adequate to protect the ratepayer’s interest?
- Investment Practices – Has LIPA violated its fiduciary obligations to ratepayers by engaging in questionable investment practices?
- Should LIPA remain a Public Authority? If so, should its Board of Trustees be appointed or elected? Or, should it become a municipal utility or privatized?
- Customer Satisfaction – What is the level of customer satisfaction with LIPA and how could that best be measured on an ongoing basis?
- State Comptroller Audits – Has LIPA adequately responded to and complied with numerous State Comptroller Audits?
- Independent Oversight of LIPA – with a $3 billion annual budget and the ability to set rates at will, should LIPA be subject to formal regulatory oversight?
- LIPA’s duty to account for the management of, and failure to reduce the Shoreham debt, and Shoreham Surcharge.
If you have any information, opinions or concerns relative to these or any other LIPA issues, you are urged to attend the November 15th Suffolk Oversight Committee public hearing in Hauppauge and be heard.