PSEG Long Island last weekend completed the integration and testing of the latest version of a computer system that helps manage outages during storms and other emergencies, following widespread failures during Tropical Storm Isaias in 2020.

The latest version, which PSEG said has been stress-tested to call volumes equal to those of that tropical storm and beyond, promises new levels of functionality and control compared with an older version that had been called back into use in the storm’s aftermath.

And while the new system does include functionality that could eliminate the need for customers to call to report outages, PSEG on Wednesday said it's not quite ready to relieve customers of the need to call.

"At this time, while the AMI [smart] meters do report outage data, we encourage our customers to continue to report their outage," spokeswoman Ashley Chauvin said. "This information provides additional data points for validation of outages during the initial phases of the AMI integration" with the outage management system.

LIPA and PSEG have been sparring since PSEG’s failed response to Isaias, which left more than 535,000 customers without power, some for up to a week. Failed systems left customers unable to reach the utility, by phone or text, for hours after the storm, and led to utility trucks rolling to locations that no longer had outages, among other problems.

LIPA in 2020 sued PSEG for $70 million in a breach of contract claim, but the pair recently settled their differences after PSEG agreed to a new contract that puts more of PSEG’s compensation at risk if it fails to meet nearly 100 new performance metrics or falls short of storm outage performance. The settlement includes $30 million to cover some of the costs of the computer upgrade.

PSEG on Wednesday said the new system improves the quality of reporting data, the dispatching and scheduling of work, and "will help provide a more reliable and efficient storm response."

Peter Schlussler, a former member of the Suffolk Legislature's LIPA oversight committee and a computer expert, said implementation of the new system for LIPA customers "is a good thing," but added, "Unfortunately, it cost us $3.4 million a month extra for something that should have happened a year and a half ago." A prior version of the system had first been installed in the summer of 2020.

In the end, Schlussler said, there was "nothing wrong with the outage management system" itself, but rather, as LIPA itself has maintained, "management failures" and the broader "ecosystem" of programs and systems that PSEG is paid to manage. "I just hope LIPA has a more jaundiced eye of the technical capabilities of what PSEG can and can't deliver" in the future, he said.

Uniondale gas station robbery ... Public lewdness arrest ... FeedMe: North Fork Credit: Newsday

Bus tickets controversy ... Uniondale gas station robbery ... Search continues at Heuermann's home ... Ken Buffa: Stunt pilot

Uniondale gas station robbery ... Public lewdness arrest ... FeedMe: North Fork Credit: Newsday

Bus tickets controversy ... Uniondale gas station robbery ... Search continues at Heuermann's home ... Ken Buffa: Stunt pilot

Latest Videos

SUBSCRIBE

Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months

ACT NOWSALE ENDS SOON | CANCEL ANYTIME