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Letter: Village Agrees With Governor That LIPA Needs Reforms

Port Jefferson calls for a moratorium on LIPA awards for electric generation.

Last week it was reported in Newsday that Governor Andrew Cuomo believes "... that LIPA has become bloated and expanded far beyond the job it's supposed to do. ..The governor believes that LIPA should be returned to its core mission in order to reduce costs for ratepayers. That means drastically reforming the current way it does business." We agree with this assessment.

Our community has been on the receiving end of LIPA’s incompetence and lack of vision as we have struggled to achieve some kind of reasonableness and certainty with respect to property taxes on the Port Jefferson Power Station. In the process our community has been repeatedly maligned as out of touch, greedy and unreasonable. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The truth is that we have always been willing to discuss downward reduction of local property taxes in a structured way over a period of years provided that it is coupled with the construction of a badly needed new, efficient, clean, gas fired, dual cycle plant in Port Jefferson.

The truth is that it is good environmental policy to site new power generation at an industrial brown field site like Port Jefferson rather than at an unspoiled green field location.

The truth is that while property taxes on National Grid’s privately owned power plants like Port Jefferson do contribute to energy prices, new gas fired dual cycle installations are at least thirty percent more efficient than National Grid’s current generating plants.

The truth is that National Grid and its predecessor companies have used their near monopoly on electric generation to run the present fleet of plants into the ground to produce profits without making the necessary investments in new, efficient and clean power plants.

The truth is that LIPA has been asleep at the switch and has allowed this situation to go on year after year.

So we agree with Governor Cuomo that LIPA badly needs to be reformed.
But while we are waiting for the politics of reform to work out, LIPA is in the process of considering proposals from a number of private companies to construct as much as 2000 megawatts of new generating capacity. LIPA is also negotiating a new long term agreement with National Grid to continue buying both electricity and providing peak capacity for Long Island.

In view of the Governor’s concerns and our own dealings with them, we believe that LIPA has proven itself incapable of protecting the public interest. They should not be permitted to continue with business as usual, and so we are calling for a moratorium on the award of any new contracts for power purchases from National Grid or anyone else, until this situation is sorted out.

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