Lawmakers hold public hearing on overcharging of LIPA customers

FARMINGDALE - State Sen. Charles Fuschillo, Jr. (R-Merrick) hosted a public hearing today to allow LIPA the chance to explain why the company overcharged customers nearly $300 million. LIPA Chief Operating Officer Michael Hervey testified at the hearing at Farmingdale State College, saying that the company will return some of the money. Lawmakers, however, weren't satisfied. "You can either take money from a ratepayer's left pocket or its right pocket, but it's still coming from the ratepayer itself," says state Sen. Jack Martins (R-Mineola). This week, the state Senate unanimously passed a bill which would require a Public Service Commission review if LIPA wants to raise rates more than 2.5 percent over the course of a year. Despite the claims that it overcharged customers, LIPA says its rates have actually fallen in the last few years, including 1.9 percent last month. However, Hervey says customers' bills are higher because of growing demand for electricity.

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