Senator Carl L. Marcellino, Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Investigations and Government Operations will hold a public hearing to look at the Long Island Power Authority’s (LIPA) storm preparation and restoration polices, and to examine the industry standards, best practices and post-event analysis of the utility.
“LIPA’s preparedness systems are fatally flawed. They failed during Tropical Storm Irene in 2011 and things only got worse during Superstorm Sandy. While I commend our emergency responders and law enforcement officials for working hard to meet the needs of Long Islanders, it is clear that we must again take a look at LIPA’s response and determine if they are truly prepared and competent to go forward and provide services for the residents and ratepayers on Long Island. These “experts” have had plenty of time to prepare for a storm such as this; they have failed miserably,” said Senator Marcellino.
LIPA is the public face of electric power for most of Long Island and employs about 125 people. Although LIPA makes major decisions and is widely perceived as the local electric utility, it outsources operations to National Grid from billing to running the electric grid and storm restoration. In 2014, the operations will be reassigned to PSE&G.
"Given the rates we pay, Long Islanders have every right to expect far better service from LIPA than what we gotten following Sandy. LIPA's snail-like response time, glaring lack of communication and epic failure to plan ahead for post-storm restorations must be addressed,” stated Marcellino.
Senator Marcellino, who held a hearing concerning LIPA’s response to Tropical Storm Irene in 2011, is furious that LIPA failed to consider any recommendations the committee made after the first hearing.
“I want and demand answers to why LIPA cannot get it right. My committee did a thorough review of LIPA and their oversight during Tropical Storm Island and put forth many strong recommendations. The ratepayers have been left out in the cold, literally, during this last storm for over two weeks and no one at LIPA can tell their customers why?”
Senator Marcellino’s September 2011 report recommendations to LIPA included:
· Outreach to Residents, Municipal Officials, and County Emergency Management Offices
· Improving LIPA’s outage map with accurate information
· Proper Training for customer service representatives at National Grid’s outage Call Centers.
· Outage Reporting
· Restoration Staffing and Coordination
· Maintenance of the Electric System
· LIPA management mis-management
“When this hearing is convened, I want answers,” commented Marcellino. “I am giving them proper time to review what happened and I expect they will share their results with the committee and listen to what the ratepayers are telling them; we deserve better and expect action.”