At the LIPA Trustee Board meeting on September 22 Trustee Chairman Steinberg took issue with a story in Newsday stating the authority is reviewing a potential $600 million liability relating to pensions for past and future National Grid employees. Steinberg called “nonsense” the notion that “LIPA will somehow have to write a big check for hundreds of millions of dollars,” or that it will result in a rate increase.
The story said LIPA ratepayers could be “on the hook” to pay the costs in the future depending upon the outcome of negotiations with National Grid. LIPA expects to resolve the dispute before year’s end according to a LIPA official.
Asked why the potential liability was never publicly discussed during any prior trustees meeting, including during discussions of LIPA’s future structure, Steinberg said, “When we have something to talk about, we’ll talk about it.”
This Thursday will be the final LIPA Board of Trustees meeting for the year for which the selection of LIPA’s prime contractor will be selected. The short list includes, PSEG, ConEd and National Grid.
Additionally, the 2012 budget will be ratified which does not include any reference to the enormous pension liability.
Since LIPA “expected” the pension liability issue to be resolved this year and since there is a great possibility that the main benefactor of the liability, National Grid, may not be selected as LIPA’s prime contractor, the obvious question is:
How will the National Grid $525 Million Pension liability be resolved and how much will it cost the LIPA ratepayer for years to come?
Is LIPA ready to “talk about it” now?