Long Islanders are going to see another increase in their electric bill. The Long Island Power Authority increased their rates this month by about 4% after the electric company increased its power supply charge. LIPA’s average rate hike is now around $5.71 a month. The bill increase comes a week after Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that was supposed to completely revamp the Long Island Power Authority.
“The legislation that was signed into law today ends the LIPA as we know it, and creates a new utility system that puts Long Island ratepayers first,” Governor Cuomo said in a July 29 press release. “LIPA has offered lackluster service for too long and after its failure to perform during Superstorm Sandy it was clear we needed a change. With today’s bill signing, ratepayers on Long Island are getting a utility whose operations will be run by PSEG with its award winning record of performance during disasters.”
Not only did Governor Cuomo’s bill privatize LIPA by turning the company over to New Jersey’s PSEG, it also included a rate freeze for 2013, 2014, and 2015. “There are few things in life that are not going up, and to have a three-year rate freeze is really significant,” Cuomo said last week.
Despite the three-year rate freeze, the electric bill has still managed to go up just a week after Governor Cuomo signed the LIPA reform bill. LIPA officials are saying the increase is a power supply charge. The power supply charge covers the costs of buying fuel to operate its power plants and officials of the electric company are saying these charges have to be passed down to its customers.
Under Cuomo's bill, utility services and rates are to be put under tougher state oversight by Long Island's Department of Public Service (DPS). Any proposed rates are supposed to undergo independent reviews by the DPS in public hearings.