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Letters: Clean energy, oversight at LIPA

A Long Island Power Authority in Belle Harbor,

A Long Island Power Authority in Belle Harbor, Queens. (Nov. 12, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

The Long Island Power Authority's new mission should be to make Long Island energy independent by 2050 ["Task of fixing LIPA demands urgency," News, Dec. 2].

Nassau and Suffolk counties should pass a law stating:

All new construction must include solar panels and geothermal systems.

All renovations of more than 50 percent of the original structure must have solar/geothermal systems installed.

Homeowners or builders not installing these systems must pay a noncompliance tax.

LIPA should be made responsible for inspecting and certifying these alternative energy systems on all constructions. The authority should also check a building contractor's installation competency, administer continuing education courses and provide loans to those who wish to install these systems without renovating.

If we did this, Long Island wouldn't need wind farms off Jones Beach, liquid gas terminals in Long Island Sound, new coal- or gas-fired power stations or imported electricity.

Laurence Dresner, East Meadow

After its poor recovery from Sandy and with its debt liability, LIPA resembles a train wreck ["After Sandy: LIPA's $6.9B burden," News, Dec. 3].

The utility did not get to where it is by accident, with Albany sharing much of blame. Over the years, New York governors have paid very little attention to LIPA, and now Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo must fix it.

Privatization is definitely not the answer. This would require all of LIPA's tax-exempt debt to be converted to taxable debt, resulting in a 20 percent increase in rates, by my estimate. In addition, the need to make a profit and pay additional taxes would add even more to what are now among the highest electric rates in the country.

The more practical solution is to reorganize LIPA as a full-service municipal utility under professional utility management. With this structure, all functions would be carried out by LIPA workers and not major outside contractors. Clear accountability and control would be established, while improving efficiency and facilitating communication.

There are more than 2,000 municipal government-owned utilities in the country organized in this manner, and they successfully maintain competitive electric rates and achieve high customer satisfaction. All that is needed to move ahead is approval from Albany.

Matthew C. Cordaro, Shoreham

Editor's note: The writer is the chairman of the Suffolk County Legislature's LIPA Oversight Committee.

Regarding "Pull the plug on LIPA" [Editorial, Nov. 18], nothing could be more true concerning the enormous failing of LIPA during the last storm: mismanagement, incompetence and the near-highest electric rates in the nation.

State Assemb. Al Graf (R-Holbrook) introduced a bill last year that would clear the way for LIPA to access cheap electricity from a state-owned Niagara hydropower plant. The sooner the better for all Long Island consumers.

John Vullo, Bohemia