Brookhaven objects to PSEG Long Island response plan
The Town of Brookhaven has joined three other municipalities in objecting to a PSEG Long Island emergency response plan that involves local governments in decisions about restoring power to homes or buildings damaged in storms.
In a letter to the state Public Service Commission, Brookhaven Supervisor Edward P. Romaine requested that PSEG be forced to remove from its 1,947-page emergency plan the utility's assigning "any . . . involvement of local government in the restoration of electric service in emergency situations."
Romaine also requested that the state strike any language that would replicate the inspection system devised by the Long Island Power Authority after superstorm Sandy.
That system initially left it up to local governments to hire inspectors to examine homes for electrical system damage before LIPA would restore power. This led to confusion and contention after the storm, particularly among thousands whose homes had suffered no damage. Some municipalities, such as Hempstead, balked at the idea of hiring inspectors, forcing LIPA to hire and pay for some itself.
Romaine's letter, sent Thursday, follows similar letters by supervisors from North Hempstead, Oyster Bay and Hempstead, who objected to the idea of deputizing "electricity police" in emergencies.
PSEG Long Island spokesman Jeff Weir said the company was working to address the towns' concerns.
"It's a draft plan, a work in progress," he said, "and we're very interested in working with local officials to come to a solution" to their concerns.
Romaine, in an interview, called the PSEG plan "ludicrous."
"We're not going to take any liability and I find it shocking that PSEG is now calling on local governments to do the work they were hired for," he said.
His letter said decisions about energizing and de-energizing neighborhoods were "beyond the scope" of Brookhaven's building department.
"Brookhaven Town does not have electricians on staff with the expertise to certify the safe re-energizing of homes," he wrote. "Clearly this is a task that should be performed by PSEG ."
He wrote that Brookhaven was never notified of the new plan or given a chance to evaluate it, and called for new public meetings with local governments to consider changes.