On Thursday, Senator Jim Gaughran (D-Northport) and Assemblymember Fred W. Thiele, Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) announced the passage of measures to create a Legislative Commission on the Future of the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) in the state’s enacted budget for FY 2022-2023. With this proposal now written in law, the Senate and the Assembly will receive a blueprint of informed and necessary actions for the successful municipalization of LIPA by no later than 2025. The inclusion of the Commission was among the many budget priorities championed by Senator Gaughran and Assemblymember Thiele.
“Long Islanders have suffered under the rule of private electric companies for decades: PSEG, National Grid before it, and LILCO before that,” said Senator Gaughran. “For-profit billion-dollar companies running the electric grid guarantee Long Islanders two things: the highest electrical bills in the nation and unreliable service. This Legislative Commission on the future of LIPA is tremendous: and is the first step in establishing true public power for Long Islanders. Thank you to my partner Assemblyman Thiele for his unwavering commitment to reforming LIPA.”
“This Commission is nothing short of a triumph for Long Islanders and will serve as the path towards fully realizing what LIPA should have always been: a public power authority responsible to the customers it serves,” said Assemblymember Thiele. “For more than 25 years, ratepayers have been routinely failed by a third-party management model, but this historic budget gives motion to the actions necessary to implement a municipalized model that’s transparent and accountable. I thank Senator Gaughran for his partnership at every step of securing this crucial measure.”
As enacted in the budget, the Commission will consist of eight members appointed by legislative leaders in both houses and of both parties. Guiding and assisting the Commission will be an Advisory Committee of local stakeholders from all areas of interest, including business, labor, local government, Indian nations and tribes, environment, social justice, and education.
In reporting to the Legislature on the future of LIPA as a public power, the Committee is tasked with considering (a) the method of governance of the public authority, (b) improved transparency, accountability, and public involvement, (c) improved reliability of the system, (d) the impact on electric rates, (e) improved storm response. (f) the powers required by LIPA to more effectively operate the utility, (g) the oversight role of the department of public service and the public service commission over LIPA’s operation, (h)the impact on existing bonded indebtedness, (i) improved long term energy planning, (j) compliance with the goals of New York State Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, (k) increased reliance on renewable energy sources to produce electricity, (l) taxation and payments in lieu of taxes, (m) the special needs of communities that are or have been impacted by the siting of power generating facilities; and (n) any other matter relevant to the feasibility of establishing a public power model for the operation of LIPA.