Long Island lawmakers criticize LIPA overhaul proposal as vote nears

Under Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposal, New Jersey-based utility PSE&G would take over virtually all of LIPA's operations, starting next January.

Under Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposal, New Jersey-based utility PSE&G would take over virtually all of LIPA's operations, starting next January. (6/20/13)

ALBANY - Lawmakers are expected to vote shortly on Gov. Andrew Cuomo's plan to overhaul LIPA.

Under Cuomo's proposal, New Jersey-based utility PSE&G would take over virtually all of LIPA's operations, starting next January.

Some members of the Long Island delegation are fighting to stop the takeover.

Assemblyman Al Graf, of Holbrook, says the plan has no real checks and balances to hold rates down or to ensure that service improves. He says Cuomo is trying to rush the bill through as a way of scoring points with ratepayers who are still angry over LIPA's Superstorm Sandy response.

Sag Harbor Assemblyman Fred Thiele also says he will vote against the bill. He says he doesn't believe the plan will make electric service more reliable.

Assemblyman Bob Sweeney, of Lindenhurst, says he used to be a critic of the bill, but now supports it.

"This bill deals with storm response, which is very important, considering what we went through with Sandy," Sweeney says. "It makes a commitment to a two-year rate freeze and provides for long-term savings, which could lead to lower rates even beyond the two years. "

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