At the May 24th LIPA Board meeting the utility was proud to report it was number 1 in distribution reliability compared to the other utilities with overhead distribution in New York State. To the contrary, for a utility with among the highest rates in the US, LIPA’s distribution reliability leaves much to be desired. Just a quick look at the utility’s daily outage reports on its website reveals this.
A possible reason for this poor performance is the low standards LIPA sets for itself. Comparing outage statistics on LI with those for other New York utilities is much like comparing apples and oranges. Upstate utilities are located in very rural, heavily treed and mountainous regions. For this reason, along with very low customer densities, it should be obvious why they have more frequent interruptions and longer restoration times than here on LI. This is why even LILCO during some of its worst years ranked number 1 in the state in reliability.
Meanwhile it is often forgotten that there are three other government-owned utilities operating on LI. One of those utilities, Freeport Electric, surprisingly has reliability levels as measured by outage statistics far superior to LIPA’s. Could it be that Freeport is a full service municipal utility and not structured as a public private partnership like LIPA, or could it be that it is regulated by the Public Service Commission unlike LIPA which is unregulated.
Admittedly Freeport has a small service territory but on a proportional basis LIPA can learn quite a bit from its success. At some point hopefully LIPA can claim it is number 1 on LI before it boasts better reliability than utilities in the Adirondacks.