Senator Jim Gaughran (D-Huntington) and Assemblyman Fred Thiele (I, D-Sag Harbor) today announced that their legislation to provide for greater regulation of the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) by the Public Service Commission (PSC) has been signed into law by the governor (S.6868/A.8936).
All service providers who contract with LIPA are required by statute to undergo a comprehensive and regular management and operations audit at least every five years. The audit is contracted by, and issued to, the Public Service Commission. However, the Public Service Commission does not have the authority to require that LIPA and the utility take steps to implement any of the recommendations contained in the audit. Under this legislation, the PSC will now have the authority to require LIPA and its service providers to implement recommendations made in any comprehensive and regular management and operations audit where fraud, abuse, or mismanagement is found.
“Millions of customers across Long Island depend on LIPA to meet their energy needs. The new law will bring LIPA in line with other utilities across the state and rightfully give the PSC the necessary authority to enforce audit recommendations and protect ratepayers from waste, fraud, and abuse,” Assemblyman Thiele stated. “We need not look further than PSEG-LI’s complete failure in responding to and mitigating the impacts of Tropical Storm Isaias earlier this year to recognize the necessity of this legislation. Providing the PSC with this essential authority will greatly improve oversight and transparency over the utility, thus, preventing future catastrophes stemming from negligent mismanagement.”
Senator Gaughran stated, “Utilities must be accountable to the public they serve, and I am thrilled this critical consumer protection legislation has been signed into law. This law will prevent rogue utilities like PSEG and National Grid from doctoring state mandated audits, and will ensure the Public Service Commission has the authority to require LIPA and its service providers implement recommendations. I thank Governor Cuomo for his support, and Assemblyman Thiele for his partnership in holding utilities accountable to all Long Islanders.”