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LIPA Trustee Calls Privatization ‘A Terrible Idea’

LIPA crews working. (credit: CBS 2)

LIPA crews working. (credit: CBS 2)

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island Power Authority trustee has called the suggestion to privatize the agency a “terrible idea.”

As WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said LIPA does “hasn’t worked in a long, long time,” and has suggested that the power company as it is currently set up should be eliminated. But woul privatizing the company be a better solution for the taxpayers?

LIPA trustee Neal Lewis said no.

“I think privatization is a terrible idea, because what it would mean for Long Islanders is probably about a 20 percent rate increase,” Lewis said. “We also know that when LILCO was taken over by LIPA, they left the grid in terrible shape, and so it’s not just the cost. It’s also the fact that a private company, in order to drive up profits, does things to cut corners and doesn’t invest in the system.”

Lewis also expressed concern about renewable energy.

“They also wouldn’t be as good on supporting renewables – solar power is one of the things that LIPA is a national leader in,” he said.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical workers also expressed concern about privatizing LIPA.

“What’s the consequences if we break up the workforce and we don’t benefit the gas and electric ratepayers here on Long Island don’t benefit from the synergy savings that they have now today?” Don Daley of Local 1049 asked WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs this past Monday.

LIPA has been the subject of harsh criticism from Cuomo on down following the power troubles suffered by many Long Island residents in the wake of the hurricane. Tens of thousands of customers were left in the dark for more than two weeks.

Do you think LIPA should be privatized? Leave your comments below…