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Report: LIPA jumped gun, but justifiably, with Earl staffing

People watch the waves break at Smith Point

People watch the waves break at Smith Point County Park as Hurricane Earl makes its way northeast. (Sept. 3, 2010) Photo Credit: John Dunn

LIPA officials jumped the gun by a day in hiring 1,600 distant crews to travel to Long Island on the Tuesday before Hurricane Earl at a cost to ratepayers of millions, according to a committee of authority trustees reporting Thursday.

At the same time, the committee said bringing crews early was justified given the competition for the crews from other utilities and the threat of a potentially devastating storm.

The trustees presented the report examining the Long Island Power Authority's response to the Friday, Sept. 3, storm that ultimately missed Long Island, after questions were raised about the $33.7-million cost to respond, including an estimated $21.6 million to bring the 1,600 people to Long Island, according to the trustees' analysis. In the end, the crews were not needed because the storm caused no outages.

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