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Long Island

PSEG-Long Island takes charge of power grid

PSEG-Long Island took over the region's electrical grid on Wednesday, with new employees, no outages, and an eye on the impending end-of-week winter storm that could be the first big test for the utility. Videojournalist: Ed Betz (Jan. 1, 2014)

PSEG-Long Island took over the region's electrical grid Wednesday, with new employees, no outages and an eye on the impending winter storm that could be the first big test for the utility.

The switch from LIPA to PSEG-Long Island took place at midnight Tuesday and went "very well," said Dave Daly, president and chief operating officer of PSEG-Long Island.

"As we stand here this morning, the system is in very, very strong shape," Daly said as he stood in the parking lot of PSEG-Long Island's Hicksville facility Wednesday morning.

Daly pointed to nearly 2,200 new employees, new technologies and an expanded presence in the Rockaways, in addition to a new process in responding to storms, as key in the new company's approach.

That approach will likely be tested by the expected winter storm that will hit the region Thursday into Friday.

Daly said the utility will be "fully prepared" for the storm, which is forecast to bring as much as 9 inches of snow and winds as high as 40 mph to the area.

"The team we have in place is a very experienced team, a battle-tested team that is on the front line," Daly said. "We're putting in place some new technologies that will help us manage the storm."

While PSEG-Long Island will keep LIPA informed about its activities, the new company will decide how to respond to storms, including when to call in crews from outside regions for additional assistance.

"PSEG-Long Island is solely responsible for planning and executing the storm response," he said. "As of today, PSEG is fully in charge."

Also Wednesday the state Department of Public Service announced it was opening a new office in Plainview to help oversee the new arrangement and respond to electric customers' complaints.

"The opening of an office on Long Island helps guarantee that Long Islanders will benefit from a privatized utility operation with improved disaster response and customer service," Audrey Zibelman, chief executive of the department, said in a statement Wednesday. "Our goal is to ensure that PSEG-Long Island receives the same level of utility oversight as the rest of the utilities in the state."

That office, at 125 East Bethpage Rd., will officially open Thursday and, by April 1, will have 29 staff members specifically focused on Long Island, according to the state.

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