State Sen. Jim Gaughran said Thursday that the Long Island Power Authority should be overseeing PSEG-LI to ensure it is able to handle emergencies such as Tropical Storm Isaias.
Assemblyman Fred Thiele who represents the Second District, and Gaughran wrote to LIPA chief Tom Falcone, with LIPA announcing Thursday evening that it would undertake an independent review of the electric company’s performance this week.
Many customers have complained about poor communication by the company and an inability to report downed wires and outages; More than 440,000 customers were reported to have lost power at the height of the storm, which hit Tuesday.
“Tropical Storm Isaias was the most damaging storm to hit the Long Island electric grid since Superstorm Sandy,” LIPA said Thursday evening. “Our immediate goal is to safely restore service to customers as quickly as possible. LIPA has closely monitored the communications issues experienced by customers during the storm and PSEG Long Island’s efforts to resolve them.
“We will undertake an independent review using third-party experts after the storm is over to understand the root causes of the communications challenges and correct any deficiencies for the future. In the meantime, PSEG Long Island has crews working tirelessly around the clock, restoring more than 300,000 of the 420,000 affected customers,” LIPA said.
Gaughran, whose district includes Huntington, said earlier Thusday that LIPA should ensured that PSEG-LI was conducting “drills that they’re regularly required to do and LIPA should have performed its oversight authority. If PSEG-LI doesn’t immediately fix its problems, LIPA can give notice and send in someone to fix it.
“Instead,” he said, “LIPA has been focused on lawsuit and they’ve dropped the ball.”
LIPA has been engaged in a long legal fight with the Town of Huntington over the tax assessment on the Northport power plant. A potential settlement has been reached but awaits Town Board action.
The letter to Falcone read, in part, “Since LIPA is the authority responsible for overseeing PSEG-LI’s performance, what action, if any, has LIPA taken in the past 48 hours, and plans to take in the imminent future, to examine what exactly went wrong in PSEG’s communications and disaster response plan.”8.6.2020 Letter to LIPA (2)