Comptroller: LIPA Reform Act not helping

The state comptroller says Gov. Andrew Cuomo's LIPA Reform Act is not helping ratepayers.

Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's report says customers are being hit with extra charges and higher debt because of the LIPA reform deal negotiated by Cuomo back in 2013.

As News 12 has reported, PSEG Long Island has proposed rate increases totaling almost $9 a month over the next three years. DiNapoli says PSEG also wants to raise what it charges for maintaining the meter and power wires at homes. That would double to more than $20 a month.

Under the Cuomo deal, the new agency that is supposed to oversee LIPA and PSEG can only make recommendations. But DiNapoli says that agency still costs customers $8 million a year and LIPA is also getting deeper into debt.

"The real question is how do we start to reverse that? Focusing on that debt burden and bringing it down. Strengthening the powers of the Public Service Commission's role to make sure what is being charged is appropriate," says DiNapoli.

LIPA board member Matthew Cordaro says the reform act is a work in progress.

"Your aim is to stabilize the rates so you don't see any significant increases as time goes on, but it's wishful thinking to conceive of a scenario where you significantly reduce debt," says Cordaro."

The Long Island Public Service Department tells News 12 that the comptroller's analysis is wrong. It says the reform act has saved ratepayers millions of dollars by restructuring debt, capping property tax increases and eliminating taxes.

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