The Next Big One: Power to the People

Gov. Cuomo wants to replace LIPA with a private utility over its Sandy response. (1/30/13)

WOODBURY - It's a storm none of us will forget: Hurricane Sandy left most of Long Island in the dark for days, or even weeks.

Many politicians and residents slammed LIPA for its poor preparation before Hurricane Sandy and its lack of communication with customers afterward.

Now, almost three months later, Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to sell the utility to a more efficient, private company. 

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LIPA customers already pay some of the highest rates in the nation, and Cuomo says that under a privatization plan, rates would be frozen for at least a few years. 

Hofstra Economics professor Martin Melkonian says that as a public company, LIPA can borrow money more cheaply to pay off its huge debt from the closed Shoreham plant. Plus, public utilities get federal reimbursement for storm restoration costs. 

State lawmakers would have to sign off on plans to privatize LIPA. However, some key Long Island legislators are skeptical about such plans.


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