Wringing the politics out of delivering power on Long Island won't happen without a few death rattles.
That's what you hear in Albany right now with the attempt by Sen. Carl Marcellino (R-Syosset) to slip an awful idea into law during the confusing last days of the session. He has proposed the creation of a "repowering advisory committee" to protect the entities that benefit from the high taxes paid by the legacy generating plants in Northport, Port Jefferson and Island Park -- taxes paid by all of the Island's ratepayers.
The bill would give an 11-person commission the power to hold public hearings and issue reports on any decisions by PSEG Long Island and the Long Island Power Authority to either pay for the modernization of the old plants or to stop buying power from them. The bill would allow even more mischief, enabling the group "to provide input and review and suggest changes" to decisions on Long Island's electric needs.
The LIPA Reform Act of 2013 was designed to stop this type of meddling, yet earlier this year, the Long Island delegation in Albany slipped into the budget a provision forcing the utility to spend $1 million of ratepayer dollars for yet another study of the aging Port Jefferson plant.
To slow the pace of rate increases, LIPA needs to make smart, tough and data-based decisions on where to purchase electricity. Creating a circus around those decisions will not help that happen.