On Monday, Senator Jim Gaughran (D-Northport) and Assemblymember Fred W. Thiele, Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) announced the inclusion of $2 million of state funding for the establishment of a commission tasked with formulating a plan to restructure the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) into a true publicly owned model. LIPA is the only utility in the nation that contracts with a private company for the operation and management of its service region’s electric grid, and that has, time and time again, proven to be wholly detrimental to the ratepayers on Long Island. With the inclusion of this funding in the one-house budgets, the legislature is one step closer to creating a power authority that is transparent, reliable, and in accordance with the original intent of the Long Island Power Act of 1985.
If included in the final budget, the eight-member commission would consider a breadth of factors necessary to restructure LIPA into a public power authority. The commission will investigate criteria such as potential models of governance, labor contracts, renewable investments, impact on current bonded debt, and comprehensive enhancements to system reliability and public involvement.
“After years of failed leadership by LIPA and for-profit mega corporations, it is clear: Long Islanders deserve public power,” said Senator Gaughran. “Inclusion of this commission in the Senate and Assembly one-house budgets is the first step to municipalizing Long Island's power grid and bringing affordable, reliable power to the island.”
“Long Islanders deserve a utility they can trust. One that’s accountable, transparent, and there for us when disaster strikes,” said Assemblymember Thiele. “With the inclusion of this commission in the one-house budgets, the Legislature is poised to fully realize the benefits of public power for ratepayers in the LIPA service area. Across the nation, customers served by public power enjoy lower rates and greater availability of renewable energy, and I have every confidence that this commission will guide Long Island to that very outcome. I look forward to working to secure this crucial funding in the state’s enacted budget in the weeks ahead.”