Reform LIPA, Reduce Rates, Promote Renewables and Energy Efficiency
The Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) was formed in 1998 with the goal to create a public power authority that would lower and stabilize rates, ensure transparency for ratepayers, and provide reliable energy.
They have met only one of the three goals--reliable energy. Reform is needed.
Long Island Needs Rate Relief
LIPA ratepayers pay some of the highest utility rates in the country. One critical reason for the high rates is a $6.7 billion debt. This debt is largely due to the fact that Long Islanders were saddled with the immense cost of construction for the Shoreham Nuclear Plant. The $6.7 billion debt represents approximately 16% of every ratepayer’s electric bill. Long Islanders need federal or state assistance in reducing or managing this costly debt. This debt is hurting every Long Islander. Erasing the debt would mean immediate rate relief for every Long Island business, school, and resident.
Long Island Needs a Cleaner, Safer Energy Future
Over the last decade, the need to retool our energy infrastructure from reliance on fossil fuels to a renewable energy based system has grown from desirable to urgent. As part of reforming LIPA, we need to reform our energy choices. We need non-polluting wind and solar power as well as other renewable technologies. Also, a comprehensive, aggressive energy efficiency and conservation program is essential.
In March 2009, LIPA released a Draft Energy Plan for Long Island. The Draft Plan was intended to provide a blueprint for Long Island’s energy future for the next 10 years. Unfortunately, the plan leaves Long Island without a meaningful plan to chart our energy future. CCE believes the LIPA Long Island 10 year Energy Plan should focus on large-scale solar energy, large-scale offshore wind energy, and energy efficiency.
- Solar Energy. Solar power is uniquely able to meet peak energy demand, since the sun shines brightest in the peak demand months of summer. LIPA has promised to invest in 50 megawatts of solar energy. It’s a good start; however, experts cite the potential to generate 500-700 megawatts of solar energy on Long Island. Long Island needs large-scale solar projects.
- Offshore Wind. Wind power provides a fixed cost to the energy grid as opposed to fossil fuels that widely fluctuate. Despite good offshore wind potential, LIPA is slow to aggressively pursue offshore wind power. In 2008, Delaware announced the first power-purchase agreement for off-shore wind in the country. Shortly after, Rhode Island and New Jersey announced plans to aggressively pursue offshore wind. New York is woefully lagging behind.
- Energy Efficiency. Long Island’s potential to reduce electricity consumption through conservation and energy efficiency efforts is estimated at a minimum of 500 MW. LIPA has promised to launch the Efficiency Long Island (ELI) initiative, a 10-year, $924 million efficiency program. ELI will make a wide array of incentives, rebates, and initiatives available to residential and commercial customers to reduce energy usage and lower bills. However, the ELI budget for 2009 was reduced by the LIPA board.
Long Island Needs LIPA Board Reform:
Although it is called the “Long Island” Power Authority, there is currently no direct accountability of LIPA actions and policy to the ratepayers of Long Island. Under current law, the 15 LIPA board members are all appointed. The Governor appoints nine, and the Senate Majority Leader and the Speaker of the Assembly each appoint three. The LIPA Board should be restructured so that the Long Island public can have meaningful input into our energy policy and rates. We need to put the public back into our public power authority.
How You Can Help:
Email Governor Cuomo and your State Senate and Assembly members requesting that they fix LIPA, provide ratepayers relief from the Shoreham debt, invest in renewable and energy efficiency programs, and provide a LIPA Board that can be held accountable to Long Islanders.
- Include your name and address.
- Make sure your email is in your own words.
- Ask them to respond in writing as to how they will fix LIPA.
Email your Senator:
Not sure who your senator is? Identify your Senator
Email your Assembly member:
Not sure who your Assembly member is? Identify your Assembly member
Email Governor Cuomo:
Please forward any response you receive to or call (516) 390-7150. It helps us track progress on the issue. Thanks!
Updated by mmurphy 3/30/10