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Letter: PSEG: Customer satisfaction rising

Newsday reported that PSEG Inc.'s scores on the American Customer Satisfaction Index went down because of the performance of PSEG Long Island ["PSEG hits lowest satisfaction mark," News, May 6]. The survey is very misleading. As we were quoted in the article, the survey basically compares apples and oranges.

We engaged further with ACSI and examined the data in-depth. The good news for our Long Island customers is that PSEG Long Island's score went up significantly year-over-year compared with the Long Island Power Authority's.

The data also show that PSEG's score among New Jersey customers remained the same year-over-year. Had ACSI not combined the two entities, PSEG's overall ranking would have remained the same, and the headline would not have reflected a decline in rank. More accurately, this year's survey provides a new baseline for a new entity -- not a decline for either company -- and we will work very hard to continue to show improvement in the coming year.

The people of PSEG Long Island have been working very hard to improve the customer experience for the people and businesses of Long Island. After nearly five months of operations and through multiple winter storms, we have consistently seen an improvement in our customer satisfaction levels as measured by third-party contractors.

Dan Eichhorn, Melville

Editor's note: The writer is the vice president of customer services for PSEG Long Island.

Heartland land should stay vacant

Regarding the editorial supporting the Heartland Town Square at the former Pilgrim State Hospital -- that project is not smart growth at all ["A beating heart at Pilgrim," May 4].

New York State sold more than 400 acres of public land that should have been left vacant for recharge of our aquifer.

Instead a developer will make a financial killing by creating an artificial new mini city, which will strain existing infrastructure.

Real smart growth would be rehabilitating existing downtowns, centered around rail stations, and preserving precious vacant land for our children's and grandchildren's health.

John P. Rooney, Southold

Rice, Rutgers and the race question

The Rutgers University students, faculty and alumni protesting the plan to have Condoleezza Rice deliver the commencement address cited her role in the Iraq War and her policies regarding waterboarding ["Facing protests, Rice drops graduation talk," News, May 4].

Interestingly, there was no suggestion that their objections were based on anything but their consciences. In contrast, those who object to President Barack Obama's policies are often vilified and dismissed as racist, this despite his role overseeing drone strikes and the still operational Guantánamo Bay detention camp.

Would these same students and faculty protest Obama as a commencement speaker? Perhaps freedom of speech is only a right if you are on the left.

Debra Smith, Setauket

Charge polluters extra fees

Thank you for pointing out that Suffolk County's smog is a local symptom of a larger emissions problem, much of it off-Island -- and we, unfortunately, happen to be downwind ["Suffolk fails an air pollution test, again," News, April 30].

The lesson here is that our atmosphere is a shared resource. Emissions are bad not only for people's lungs but for our planet's temperature. Fossil fuel-burning power plants are spewing pollution, but they're not paying for the consequences.

To start curbing these emissions, we need legislation like what was passed in British Columbia in 2008. It makes polluters pay, and greenhouse gas emissions dropped 10 percent between 2008 and 2011. We should do the same.

Jennifer Greene, Bellport

Taxing online sales won't help economy

As an online seller at Nassau National Cable in Great Neck, I have seen sales growth of more than 4,400 percent in six years. I have seen firsthand how the Internet can create jobs and build a new business model. The e-commerce industry has proved its worth as a factory of economic power in creating new businesses and, most important, jobs.

Taxing the e-commerce industry would be like subsidizing the fax machine ["LI sales tax revenue falls," News, April 12]. The attempt to protect brick-and-mortar businesses through an aggressive taxing structure of new e-tailer businesses doesn't push the consumer to the local businesses; it just pushes the consumer to look harder.

A study by Ohio State University found that when online sellers attempted to collect sales taxes, their sales over $150 fall by 15.5 percent; sales over $300 went down 24 percent. Most important, the study found that less than 2 percent of consumers took their business to a local store. Consumers instead searched for other sellers who didn't collect sales tax online or had lower prices.

We can't level the playing field by trying to protect the past.

Samuel Draper, Great Neck