Presented by Peter Kohler
July 13, 2012
(Visit the Cablevision Editorials website at http://cveditorials.com/LI.html)
Does LIPA do enough tree-trimming to protect power lines?
No, says a recent report from the state PSC concerning LIPA’s performance after Tropical Storm Irene brought massive outages last year.
Not only did LIPA fail to trim trees adequately around power lines, the report said it failed to do so with sufficient frequency.
Communications with all its customers was poor, especially so for people requiring electricity for life support equipment. Nor could customers get answers about when power would be restored.
The PSC report says LIPA and National Grid workers were using paper and pencil to record outages in this age of smart phones and GPS. And while LIPA is installing a new outage communications system–six years after it was recommended–LIPA has thus far failed to respond point by point to the PSC’s scathing report.
LIPA trustees should require a full response, and make it public. Also, LIPA should establish new storm procedures with PSEG before the new operator takes over in 2014. As Senator Charles Schumer warns, PSEG may have fewer emergency workers to call upon.
Above all, LIPA needs to better educate its customers about storm-emergency procedures. It shouldn’t take another destructive storm before LIPA gets it right.