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LIPA OKs new chief executive, changes in PSEG incentive payments

Tom Falcone, chief financial officer for LIPA, speaks

Tom Falcone, chief financial officer for LIPA, speaks during a hearing in Uniondale on Friday, Nov. 13, 2015. Credit: Howard Schnapp

LIPA trustees voted to approve the appointment of Tom Falcone as chief executive, disclosed a series of changes to the way PSEG Long Island can receive incentive pay for meeting performance standards, and laid out a pathway to the rollout of thousands of smart meters this year.

Changes in the way PSEG can earn incentive pay come as the total amount it can earn in the plan this year jumps to $8.7 million, from $5.4 million in 2014 and 2015.

At a board meeting on Monday, trustees voted 7-0 with one abstention to approve Falcone for the top job at LIPA, which pays $275,000. He’ll continue to serve as chief financial officer until a new one is picked.

PSEG and LIPA also agreed to a series of changes to PSEG’s performance metrics, changing one for worker safety that PSEG has failed to meet over the past two years and another for meter reading, which it missed in 2015.

LIPA agreed to essentially reset the standard for worker safety, agreeing with PSEG that there was “insufficient documentation” to set it based on 2013 worker injury levels. LIPA also agreed to convert the meter-reading standard to a new one called long-term estimates, a measure of how many customers have gone six months or more without a meter read. PSEG early last year saw its meter reading rate drop sharply because of severe weather. Improvements in the rate help PSEG lower estimated bills, which often don’t accurately reflect actual customer usage.

The company also will add new metrics, including one that tracks complaints filed with the state Department of Public Service and another that examines how quickly PSEG rolls out smart meters.

PSEG has awarded a contract to Landis+Gyr to install a communications backbone across Long Island to support the smart meters, which send usage data to the utility through a series of Wi-Fi and cellular links. This year, PSEG will focus on installing 5,139 new smart meters, primarily to commercial customers. PSEG said around 13 percent of the Island’s total billed energy will be on smart meters by year’s end. The meters are already in place across Fire Island, and in areas along the Route 110 corridor in Farmingdale and at Stony Brook University.

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