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LIPA Announces It Won’t Be Raising Rates For 2013

A lineman from California works to restore power in Long Beach following Sandy - Nov. 20, 2012 (credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

A lineman from California works to restore power in Long Beach following Sandy – Nov. 20, 2012 (credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The Long Island Power Authority announced Monday that it will not be raising rates in the year to come.

LIPA on Monday released its 2013 Operating Budget and 2013-14 Capital Budget, noting that in the wake of Superstorm Sandy – which slammed Long Island with long-term power outages and became a public relations nightmare for the power company – “it is helpful to deliver a budget that holds the line on rates for customers.”

“We are pleased the Board of Trustees approved an Operating and Capital Budget that does not require any delivery or efficiency and renewable charge increase for next year,” LIPA Chief Operating Officer Michael D. Hervey said in a news release.

WCBS 880′s Mike Xirinachs reports

The 2013 budget does include a slight increase in the allotment for an efficiency and renewable energy program, to $120 million. The program funds programs such as efficient products and solar energy initiatives.

The board also approved all necessary storm-related customer service tariff changes, including the suspension of late fees through Jan. 31, and the waiving of daily service charges for metered service for 14 days.

Once the net cost of Sandy is determined after LIPA receives reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Administration, LIPA will determine the appropriate recovery of outstanding costs.

Just last week, LIPA was blasted as inept by multiple residents and elected officials, during a hearing seeking to determine how the utility might be restructured.

At the hearing of the Moreland Commission on Utility Storm Preparation and Response, Long Island resident Seymour Spiegel said for a 21st century storm, LIPA had been “a 19th century power company.”

“We felt cold, dark and abandoned,” Spiegel said.

Governor Andrew Cuomo also has been a harsh critic of the power companies – particularly LIPA – in the wake of Sandy. He went so far as to suggest that the power company should be shut down.

According to Newsday, Cuomo also said LIPA “has to end” because it “hasn’t worked in a long, long time.”

Cuomo also wants the commission to evaluate other utilities serving the New York City and suburban areas, including New York State Electric and Gas Corp. and National Grid, which operates under LIPA.

Three LIPA officials, including Hervey, have announced plans to step down since Sandy struck. But all of them said their decisions had nothing to do with the storm or its fallout.

What is your opinion of LIPA nearly two months after Sandy? Please leave your comments below…