Cuomo’s LIPA Deal Is Déjà vu All Over Again



Photo of Andrew Cuomo’s sleight of hand

Andrew Cuomo racked up another amazing success with a LIPA deal that is being touted as brilliant and novel when in fact it restores LIPA to the way it was 15 years ago.

LIPA, Long Island’s government (electric) energy bureaucracy, is being dismantled. LIPA originated in 1998 and, at that time, everyone said the same things about its construction that they are now saying as they dismantle it.

Instead of the 100 employees they currently have, LIPA will go back to the original 20.

Cuomo promises Long Island that there will be rate freezes and the $7 billion dollar debt will be paid down. That’s what they told us 15 years ago when the debt was under $6 billion.

It is a mystery how they plan to pay down the debt since they have settled assessment grievances over the debt. Actually, it’s not a mystery. As Assemblyman Al Graf said, “…it’s going to cost people a fortune.”

Apparently it is going to negatively impact areas that have power plants (theses areas will have their tax benefits lowered on a graduated basis). The Cuomo deal has uncertain costs and light oversight according to a Newsday article on Thursday. The future of Green energies is also uncertain.

This is yet another bill that will be passed without anyone knowing what it will cost. It’s Cuomo’s bill but if it is a disaster, Cuomo will head for the hills.

Cuomo said “Finally, Finally,” when the legislature moved the bill forward and he added “You will have a much better provider bringing the service.”

Major functions will be transferred to PSEG in New Jersey and LIPA will be a holding company under Cuomo’s control.

In 1998, LIPA bought the transmission and distribution assets of the former Long Island Lighting Co. in a deal that left Long Island with almost $6 billion in debt (due primarily to the closing of the Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant).

LIPA is loathed as was the previous energy company – LILCO.

Let’s be realistic – PSEG will be loathed also.

Ironically, the same people will be doing all the work. Did anyone think all the employees would be fired and new ones hired? Now we will have a more capable work force according to Cuomo but it will be the same people with the elimination of some VP’s. It”s the same people who worked for LILCO.

Cuomo jumped on the opportunity presented by Hurricane Sandy to earn points with the electorate but it’s a nothing-sandwich except it will give Cuomo more power. As it was fifteen years ago, the Public Service Commission will be the oversight board under Cuomo’s control and Cuomo loves taxes!