Governor Cuomo Announces Major Agreement with FEMA to Support State's Efforts to Strengthen Long Island's Power Utility System

$1.4 Billion for Repair and Mitigation of Long Island electrical power grid.

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Albany, NY - February 21, 2014 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a major agreement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that $1.4 billion will be provided using federal recovery funds to support storm repair and mitigation efforts to the power grid on Long Island. In 2012, Superstorm Sandy dealt significant damage to the utility grid on Long Island and left 90 percent of LIPA’s 1.1 million customers without power. Of the funding announced today, $705 million will aid repairs to the grid, and $730 million will assist with future storm mitigation efforts. 90 percent of the funding will be paid for using FEMA funds, and the remainder will be drawn from federal Community Development Block Grant funds from the US Department of Housing & Urban Development.
“This agreement secures $1.4 billion in federal funding to build a stronger, more resilient electrical system for Long Island ratepayers,” Governor Cuomo said. “This funding will allow the State to dramatically improve the power grid, including elevating lines and repairing substations without raising rates for Long Island’s residents and businesses. We need to reimagine New York for the new reality of extreme weather and I want to thank FEMA for providing this new support to help us build back better and stronger than ever before.”
As part of the agreement, FEMA will employ an innovative approach to improving storm resiliency by allowing New York State the flexibility to determine the nature and type of mitigation that will be most effective throughout the 1,025 miles of the most vulnerable and previously damaged circuits in the grid.
The funding will also make the system better prepared for future storms. The funding will cover the elevation of damaged substations, automatic sectionalizing of switches across the grid in order to minimize outages and strategic undergrounding of appropriate power circuits, among other strategies for improved resilience. In all, this unprecedented agreement will give ratepayers on Long Island advanced protection against future outages and provide the financial resources necessary for the utility system to make these improvements without raising rates.
Today’s funding builds on Governor Cuomo’s efforts to overhaul Long Island’s power system in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Last year, the Governor passed legislation reforming the existing Long Island Power Authority and putting PSEG Long Island in charge of managing LIPA’s electric system. The 12-year contract signed by PSEG includes commitments to improve customer satisfaction and provide safe, reliable service for LIPA customers.