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PSEG Long Island's delayed rollout of storm outage management system 'not acceptable,' says state regulator

A PSEG service truck comes out of the

A PSEG service truck comes out of the service yard in Hicksville on Jan. 1, 2014. Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

A state regulator called "not acceptable" PSEG Long Island's failure to meet a July deadline to roll out a vital new computer system to track and report repair work during storms.

PSEG will forgo a $1 million incentive for missing the deadline, which will push activation of the system into August, deeper into the hurricane season.

Julia Bovey, the newly named director of the state Department of Public Service's Long Island branch, said Thursday that her office was "deeply concerned" about the delay. "It's not acceptable," she said in an interview.

Bovey noted that PSEG was on or above target on all other service metrics. "There's nothing else that is sending up red flags," she said.

PSEG Long Island president David Daly said the new $30 million system had been deployed and was "operating in parallel" with an antiquated LIPA-owned system, but the new system needs a "couple more weeks" of user training and system checks before it can operate independently.

PSEG will forfeit the incentive payment from LIPA of just over $1 million for missing the milestone, he acknowledged, but added that getting the additional work done was more important.

PSEG had set an aggressive deadline for the full rollout, Daly said -- 16 to 17 months rather than the typical 24 to 28 months. As such, he said, he still considered an August rollout "a pretty big success."

The old electricity outage management system, previously operated by National Grid, was considered a major failing of the utility during superstorm Sandy, leaving customers looking to LIPA's website wondering when repair work would begin or finish, and workers using paper maps and work orders.

LIPA had been midway through the rollout of a new system from a different contractor when PSEG said last year that it felt it had a better, more modern system, and the ability to install it quickly. So LIPA trustees agreed to abandon the old computer system at a cost of more than $10 million.

Daly downplayed the notion that the new system running independently would be pushed deeper into the hurricane season, which runs from June 1 until Nov. 30.

"It will be up and running [independently] in August," he said.


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