A LIPA smart meter installed at a Suffolk County home is...

A LIPA smart meter installed at a Suffolk County home is seen on May 24, 2022. Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

As PSEG’s contract to operate the Long Island grid nears its expiration, the Long Island Power Authority has yet to release a plan to start a bidding process for potential replacements, increasing the likelihood that LIPA will extend PSEG’s contract.

At a LIPA board meeting Wednesday, which included fireworks over a board member's abrupt resignation and a report that PSEG’s customer service scores were dropping, LIPA’s newly named interim chief executive, John Rhodes, didn't mention the prospect of putting the grid management contract out to bid, even after a ratepayer brought it up during a public comment session.

“What planning has taken place so far and has an RFP been issued?” asked Merrick ratepayer and activist Fred Harrison, referring to a request for proposals. “We all know it's a pressing issue.” He did not receive a response.  

New Jersey-based PSEG’s contract to manage the Long Island grid for LIPA expires at the end of 2025. Now that a state legislative plan to transition LIPA to a fully public utility  is all but dead, after intensive PSEG lobbying against it, LIPA had been expected to turn to a plan B that included a public bidding process to find a possible replacement.

LIPA is still expected to put the contract out to bid, but with a full year of transition needed in 2025, the timeline is getting squeezed.

LIPA chairwoman Tracey Edwards opened the Wednesday board meeting by announcing that Laureen Harris, an outspoken LIPA trustee who in April abstained from voting for Gov. Kathy Hochul’s proposed appointment of Rhodes as interim CEO, had resigned from the board. Harris, an attorney who is also president of the Association for a Better Long Island, a developer group that includes LIPA’s biggest customers, was a governor’s appointee.

A spokeswoman for Hochul said the governor's office was “grateful for her [Harris'] contributions.”

Among other things, Harris had been critical of PSEG’s performance in its customer call centers, urging the company to improve performance in advance of the coming storm season and the transition to a new time-of-day rate plan.

Harris didn’t return a call seeking comment Wednesday. Rhodes wasn’t available for comment.

Edwards, who noted that Harris had stayed on despite an expired term, read Harris’ resignation letter, which indicated she was leaving in light of “achievements we’ve seen during my tenure and the increased demands of my business.”

But trustee Drew Biondo raised questions during the board meeting about that explanation, noting that Harris “spoke truth to power,” and asked “tough questions, and I suggest to you that resignation letter is very gracious.”

The board meeting Wednesday included a report that indicated PSEG during the first quarter was meeting only 54% of performance targets set by LIPA in a renegotiated contract. Around 26% of the metrics were considered “at risk” for being missed by year-end, while PSEG was behind on 11%.

Among the at-risk metrics was one for reducing sustained multiple customer outages. The report noted that at the end of March, 2,511 of LIPA’s 1.2 million customers had experienced six or more outages during the prior year, while 380 had eight or more and 84 had 10 or more outages. One customer had 12 or more. PSEG had thus far met 0% of the metric, the LIPA report said.

Also at risk was the metric for increasing enrollment on low- to moderate-income programs and the transition to time-of-day rates, while PSEG was “behind target” on its J.D. Power  Customer Satisfaction survey score. The report noted that PSEG in the first quarter saw its residential customer satisfaction score drop by 9 points to 693, while it moved down three positions in the large Northeast utility rankings. Jessica Bretana, senior manager for LIPA, explained that part of the reason for PSEG’s drop was “score improvements by other utilities” on the list.

Mike Sullivan, a PSEG vice president/managing director, noted that metrics results were for the first quarter only and that PSEG plans to improve its scores through the balance of the year, including improved call center performance already being seen.

As PSEG’s contract to operate the Long Island grid nears its expiration, the Long Island Power Authority has yet to release a plan to start a bidding process for potential replacements, increasing the likelihood that LIPA will extend PSEG’s contract.

At a LIPA board meeting Wednesday, which included fireworks over a board member's abrupt resignation and a report that PSEG’s customer service scores were dropping, LIPA’s newly named interim chief executive, John Rhodes, didn't mention the prospect of putting the grid management contract out to bid, even after a ratepayer brought it up during a public comment session.

“What planning has taken place so far and has an RFP been issued?” asked Merrick ratepayer and activist Fred Harrison, referring to a request for proposals. “We all know it's a pressing issue.” He did not receive a response.  

New Jersey-based PSEG’s contract to manage the Long Island grid for LIPA expires at the end of 2025. Now that a state legislative plan to transition LIPA to a fully public utility  is all but dead, after intensive PSEG lobbying against it, LIPA had been expected to turn to a plan B that included a public bidding process to find a possible replacement.

LIPA is still expected to put the contract out to bid, but with a full year of transition needed in 2025, the timeline is getting squeezed.

LIPA chairwoman Tracey Edwards opened the Wednesday board meeting by announcing that Laureen Harris, an outspoken LIPA trustee who in April abstained from voting for Gov. Kathy Hochul’s proposed appointment of Rhodes as interim CEO, had resigned from the board. Harris, an attorney who is also president of the Association for a Better Long Island, a developer group that includes LIPA’s biggest customers, was a governor’s appointee.

A spokeswoman for Hochul said the governor's office was “grateful for her [Harris'] contributions.”

Among other things, Harris had been critical of PSEG’s performance in its customer call centers, urging the company to improve performance in advance of the coming storm season and the transition to a new time-of-day rate plan.

Harris didn’t return a call seeking comment Wednesday. Rhodes wasn’t available for comment.

Edwards, who noted that Harris had stayed on despite an expired term, read Harris’ resignation letter, which indicated she was leaving in light of “achievements we’ve seen during my tenure and the increased demands of my business.”

But trustee Drew Biondo raised questions during the board meeting about that explanation, noting that Harris “spoke truth to power,” and asked “tough questions, and I suggest to you that resignation letter is very gracious.”

The board meeting Wednesday included a report that indicated PSEG during the first quarter was meeting only 54% of performance targets set by LIPA in a renegotiated contract. Around 26% of the metrics were considered “at risk” for being missed by year-end, while PSEG was behind on 11%.

Among the at-risk metrics was one for reducing sustained multiple customer outages. The report noted that at the end of March, 2,511 of LIPA’s 1.2 million customers had experienced six or more outages during the prior year, while 380 had eight or more and 84 had 10 or more outages. One customer had 12 or more. PSEG had thus far met 0% of the metric, the LIPA report said.

Also at risk was the metric for increasing enrollment on low- to moderate-income programs and the transition to time-of-day rates, while PSEG was “behind target” on its J.D. Power  Customer Satisfaction survey score. The report noted that PSEG in the first quarter saw its residential customer satisfaction score drop by 9 points to 693, while it moved down three positions in the large Northeast utility rankings. Jessica Bretana, senior manager for LIPA, explained that part of the reason for PSEG’s drop was “score improvements by other utilities” on the list.

Mike Sullivan, a PSEG vice president/managing director, noted that metrics results were for the first quarter only and that PSEG plans to improve its scores through the balance of the year, including improved call center performance already being seen.

Advocates rally for congestion pricing … Stony Brook film festival … Patchougue-Medford library annex opens Credit: Newsday

Anti-vaping funds for LI ... Advocates rally for congestion pricing ... Final T20 match ... 90-year-old volunteer

Advocates rally for congestion pricing … Stony Brook film festival … Patchougue-Medford library annex opens Credit: Newsday

Anti-vaping funds for LI ... Advocates rally for congestion pricing ... Final T20 match ... 90-year-old volunteer

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