SYOSSET - A bill aimed at protecting customers of the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) cleared a hurdle today when it was passed by the state Assembly. The bill, called the LIPA Oversight and Accountability Act, would authorize the state's Public Service Department to audit the utility's rates and operations. If enacted, the measure would also give customers who believe they've been over-charged somewhere else to turn outside of LIPA. The state's Consumer Protection Division would handle such complaints. A LIPA spokesman declined to comment on the legislation. The bill is now headed to the state Senate for a vote. Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg (D-Long Beach) says the measure has bipartisan support and is expected to pass.New bill targets LIPA rate hikes