LIPA CEO: PSEG Long Island knew it wasn't ready for Isaias

Long Island Power Authority's CEO Tom Falcone is going to bat for LIPA's more than 1 million customers on Long Island. He told FOX 5 NY that PSEG Long Island's poor performance before, during, and after Tropical Storm Isaias in August 2020 was just the tip of the iceberg.

"We pay PSEG a premium for excellent management," he said. "We found in the investigation that PSEG was aware before the storm that they weren't prepared and their telephone and outage management systems to respond to the storm weren't prepared."

LIPA, in a series of published reports, suggests failures aren't because of IT problems but rather issues with management. More than a dozen contractual reforms on LIPA's latest fact sheet pinpoint what needs to change in order to move forward.

"What we found is that too many decisions are made remotely in Newark, New Jersey, PSEG's headquarters, and there's no accountability for those managers to Long Island results," Falcone said.

Tropical Storm Isaias cleanup on Long Island

In addition, LIPA is looking to gain direct access to PSEG's information systems and records to be able to "trust but verify" performance. LIPA could also require PSEG to sub-contract inadequate services to another qualified provider.

A spokesperson for PSEG Long Island told FOX 5 NY that the utility has been and will continue to cooperate.

"We remain fully committed to learning from this experience and continuing our mission to provide our customers with superior electric service," the spokesperson said.

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A LIPA board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday where members will discuss the proposed contract reforms and other options including terminating PSEG's contract, which is set to expire in 2025.

LIPA plans to make a decision on the future of how Long Island's electrical grid is operated by the end of March.

"This isn't a moonshot," Falcone said. "These are things that utilities do every day of the week."

Late last year, the LIPA board approved over 100 reforms for PSEG. LIPA filed a $70 million lawsuit for breach of contract so utility customers don't have to foot the bill for Isaias cleanup.