Ratepayers rally to demand LIPA pull plug on its contract with PSEG Long Island
Fed up ratepayers rallied outside LIPA headquarters in Uniondale to demand that the power authority pull the plug on its contract with PSEG Long Island and switch to becoming a fully public power company.
"It's time for Long Island to have a true public authority. We are wasting $80 million a year to pay 18 people's contract," says Lisa Tyson, of Long Island Progressive Coalition. "That's impossible. We pay the highest rates in the country. Let's save that money and have public power, and start burying lines, start lowering our rates."
Calls from public power advocates for LIPA to terminate its contract with PSEG have been mounting since PSEG's failed response to Tropical Storm Isaias. The storm knocked out power to more than 320,000 homes and businesses on Long Island for days.
LIPA says PSEG was plagued with communication and computer problems that predated the storm.
"All of the problems that were experienced with the IT and technical systems during the storm and restoration were ultimately management failures and entirely preventable," says LIPA CEO Thomas Falcone.
Falcone says the company is exploring new options, including negotiating a contract with PSEG, hiring a new service provider or running the system itself as a fully public utility.
Falcone says LIPA has made a best offer to PSEG but has not heard back. LIPA is accepting information from other companies interested in potentially taking over the contract.
Responses are due to LIPA by July 19.