Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Pseg May Take over Long Island Electric Utility

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Pseg May Take over Long Island Electric Utility

Article excerpt

New York State officials are considering turning over operation of Long Island's troubled electric authority -- harshly criticized for its response to superstorm Sandy -- to Public Service Enterprise Group, parent company of New Jersey's largest utility.

It's among several options being discussed concerning the Long Island Power Authority, including the possibility of selling it to a private utility, a spokesman for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Thursday.

A unit of Public Service Enterprise Group, PSEG Long Island LLC, already won a 10-year contract to distribute electricity to LIPA's 1.1 million customers in late 2011. New York officials have begun talking to PSEG about possibly expanding that agreement to include most other LIPA functions, including budgets, customer service, computer systems and storm response. The discussions with PSEG were first reported by Newsday on Thursday.

"We are continuing to evaluate a series of options and will make a final decision based on which one best meets the governor's goals of keeping rates affordable, keeping property taxes low and improving customer service as well as disaster readiness and response," said the Cuomo spokesman, Matthew Wing.

Karen Johnson, a spokeswoman for Newark-based PSEG, declined to comment on any potential expansion of its LIPA contract, but acknowledged, "We continue to have discussions with LIPA and New York State officials on how best to provide Long Island consumers with the high level of service, reliability and value they expect and deserve."

PSEG subsidiaries already have several ventures outside of New Jersey, including a generating station in Albany, N.Y., and power plants in Connecticut.

LIPA is a public authority that contracts out electric service. It has contracted since 1998 with National Grid and its predecessor, KeySpan. LIPA's contract with PSEG is set to begin Jan. 1, 2014. Under the contract, PSEG will set up a separate Long Island unit and work with a subcontractor, Lockheed Martin, to provide service on Long Island. …

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