Private Plan for LIPA Eyed, But Should it Stay Public?

Report says one plan would see much of the utility sold to a private company.

Officials who are scrutinizing the future of the Long Island Power Authority are considering selling off much of LIPA's assets to a private company as one way to reshape the hamstrung utility.

According to a Newsday report, officials in Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration are working with investment bank Lazard Ltd on several plans, which include privatization.

Click here to read the report.

Planning related to LIPA restructuring is wrapped in with the governor's Moreland Commission, which in addition to probing how state utilities performed in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, is charged with making recommendations for reforming the area's electric distribution companies.

LIPA has taken the brunt of that attention after communication failings in the storm's immediate aftermath, leadership exits and power restoration lengths that fell short of other metro-area utilities that faced similar devastation eroded public opinion of the utility.

But as officials debate LIPA's future, we'd love your comments. Should LIPA be privatized, remain a public utility or be dissolved altogether? Let us know in the comments section below..

Annie Gurl December 13, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Haven't we been there and done that already? LILCO to LIPA. Neither has worked very well for Long Island....
sadeto December 13, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Maybe they should bring in Ken Lay as an advisor. Privatization, the answer to all problems.
William Swiskey sr December 13, 2012 at 07:41 PM
Mario Cuomo should lead an investigation into how this mess was created and the people responsible prosecuted. I'm sure we'll have the truth then.
Nick Metrowsky December 13, 2012 at 07:41 PM
Considering the $2 trillion bailout the banks received when they ruined the economy; failure to pay the Shoreham debt should be a top priority. But, with one large string attached, to forgive the debt, the money that would have gone to pay off the debt is used to bring Long Island into the 21st century. Also, as bad as this may sound, have Con Edison take over. Not the best solution, but a practical one. Being they already have a presence on western Long Island, they can easily meld both systems into one.and it is better than having some out of state concern coming in which has no interest in dealing with the mess of LILCO or LIPA. When LILCO failed, Con Edison should have put in charge then, but because of the LILCo whit elephant called Shoreham, no reasonable company would take over Long Island power generation. The debt still will prevent change, so this is what the politicians should be working on; not rewarding accountants and real estate investors with posts on what amounts to a defunct utility.
Thomas Volpe December 13, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Nassau Taxpayer - while there still is Shoreham related debt it amounts to about $4b out of the $11b in debt they have. The costs are nowhere near enough to bury the infrastructure. The last estimate was $30b so the actual costs would be $40-$50billion. Just trying adding that debt on and see what the cost would be.
Frank Mercuri December 13, 2012 at 09:02 PM
We never went from LILCO to LIPA. LIPA was a pipe dream of Richard Kessle who never got anything right. It was a political setup. LILCO exhisted under a different name KEYSPAN now National grid where energy is bought by LIPA adding to the rate payers' rate burfen. There was a lot of opposition on this as it was supposed to be an anwer to the Shoreham debacle. With all the expansion done on the Island over the years something has to give. When it was mostly farmland,no problem. Develope and not change the infastructure is a problem. 25A is the same size give or take a couple of yards, as it was for many years. Get rid of LIPA and let the private sector do the job. Bureaucrats can't.
jared December 14, 2012 at 12:33 AM
LIPA = what happens when the government attempts to run a utility company.
Constance Roland December 14, 2012 at 02:00 AM
This is funny.. Mario created it.
Constance Roland December 14, 2012 at 02:12 AM
Lilco did not fail. It invested in nuclear energy, when America was moving in that direction. After some nuclear disasters, Long Islanders insisted we not continue to move toward the Shoreham facility becoming operational. In the meantime, Shoreham-Wading River School District, the Town of Brookhaven, and the County of Suffolk taxed LILCO as if it were a fully functioning nuclear power facility, which Lilco successfully defended. Once the appeals were exhausted, and the public entities time to reimburse was finally due, Mario bailed out the public politicos from disaster by negotiating the sale of the the electric lines. LIPA paid $6B (or $8B, its late and memory fails) for assets valued at $2B. Then the fun began, as Mr. Kessell ran the register with no public oversight. The people who built Lilco, a publicly traded company, merged with Brooklyn Union to form Keyspan, another publicly traded company. which eventually was purchased by NatGrid, yet another publicly traded company. So when we ask around, and determine who failed whom, I am pretty certain the political geniuses at the time of determining how to tax Lilco and Rich Kessel have yet to have their chickens come home to roost.
charles rimicci December 14, 2012 at 11:49 AM
will making it private make it better i doubt it bring in matt cordero
Jim December 14, 2012 at 01:07 PM
There must be some interesting conversations around the Cuomo holiday table. Dad municipalized a private company, now the son wants to privatize that which Dad created. And everytime it changes hands or contract, the politicians, lawyers, CEOs and accountants get a piece of the action, thus leaving less of the ratepayer's money available for infrastructure.
forward thinking December 14, 2012 at 02:22 PM
the power co would have to go bankrupt for me to consider buying it. i go 30 cents on the valued dollar. they its employmment at will no union. then propose a plan to bury the lines or have adequate tree clearance -- at the consumers cost - i bet the lines would still be on the plles... and the trees would still impact every storm...
Tom December 14, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Make it private and suddenly you have a company that has to pay taxes. Watch our rates go up 20% overnight.
Frank December 14, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Dear Lord, I hope Gov. Bozo doesn't plan to sell assets with the State (I mean LIers) holding the debt note for Shoreham! If a private company is interested, then they need to buy the Shoreham debt.
Frank December 14, 2012 at 04:24 PM
I think the Feds should pay - after all it was the Feds that coerced every utility in America to build Nuclear Powerplants, at all cost, during the mad dash 60s.
Frank December 14, 2012 at 04:25 PM
20%? try 117% if you figure the shoreham debt load.
Rhea January 10, 2013 at 04:54 PM
As I drive through my neighborhood , where trees line block after block..Some quite obviously leaning on the numerous overhead lines( for LIPA,Verizon ,Cablevision)..I wondered if Privatizing Would address that issue..I agree with most of the comments posted.. But in the end it will us footing the bill..while the politicians grandstand for their next election..I see it as a lose lose situation , If the REAL issues are not addressed, and there are many.
Susan January 10, 2013 at 09:00 PM
The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.' Ronald Reagan 40th president of US (1911 - 2004)
Jim January 10, 2013 at 09:05 PM
Frank, LILCO never existed under Keysapn. When the physical assets of the utility known as LILCO were purchased by LIPA, they purchased the name "LILCO" too.
Jim January 10, 2013 at 09:09 PM
Nick, You say the system on Long Island can easily be melded with ConEd's. Do you know what the operating voltages are? Are the standard materials and equipment the same? Are operating rules and union rules the same? Melding may not be so easy.....
Jim January 10, 2013 at 09:12 PM
Charles, Matt Codero was an executive in LILCO during it's Shorham days. If you're not happy with privatizing the utility system bringing in a VP from when it was a private utility isn't the answer.
emil March 04, 2013 at 01:36 AM
We are all screwed the only way out would be to break up the company into four parts and give the people the opption of who to buy power from. You want to see rates go down that is the way to do it. P.S. Shoreham was doomed from the start, lack of construction inspections and what not steel inside concrete rusting and cracking the concrete. Poor workmanship. Just thank God or who ever you believe in that it never oppened
paul March 04, 2013 at 04:29 AM
To emil: You stated: "and give the people the option of who to buy power from" REAL BAD MOVE.... I guess you do not remember the telephone company split ordered by Judge Green. It was one of the worst things to happen.. The splitting of the electric company would not be a good thing... Read on: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breakup_of_AT%26T
inwood queens Resident March 04, 2013 at 12:30 PM
The problem is we the public as owners of the infrastructure (wires, poles, transformers and power stations) have never forced lipa to do what they are suppose to do. That is upgrade and maintain our infrastructure. A few summers ago we had the big black out this was the first signs of neglect. If you asked any of the Quebeck Hydro Power workers that came and helped after the storm. You would have gotten the same answer I got and that is this would have never happened if the equipment was upgraded and maintained. All that removing LiPA or National grid will do is change the name of where we send our money each month. Without changing contract to include penalties for failure to upgrade and maintain our electrical infrastructure the power short falls will continue. They continue to blame Sandy the storm of the century for the damage but even in area where there was no flooding or tree damage power restoration took two weeks because of old transformers. Traffic signals and street light out for weeks while homes in affluent neighborhoods recieved priority service. Neighborhoods like FarRockaway with higher populations but lower incomes pushed to the back of the line. We all pay a set rate for electic someone's financial standing should not effect repair priority. LiPA failed in many ways by playing favorites and folding to political pressure the caused more problems. If they concentrated on repairing electrical service to traffic signals and commercial areas
inwood queens Resident March 04, 2013 at 12:36 PM
Like gas stations and super markets we would have rebounded a little faster. We need to have who ever takes over start upgrading and replacing from day one. Weather proofing the supply and moving outward from there installing redundant systems that are earlier brought online in case of disaster.


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