Community Leaders Provide Vision for Fully Public Long Island Power Authority

Advocates describe the future of LIPA at first public hearing

Categories

Climate and Energy

For Immediate Release

Hempstead, NY — Today, at the first public hearing held by the Commission on the Future of the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), community leaders shared their vision for the region’s electric system. The public hearing is the first since the passage of legislation in 2022 that established the Commission and a pathway to a public power system for Long Island and the Rockaways — a victory for climate and community advocates. Under the law, the Commision is charged with creating a road map to a fully public system to replace the current private-public model.

At today’s hearing, held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, members of the Reimagine LIPA Campaign described how, by replacing PSEG with a fully public model, the authority could achieve the goals of affordable, reliable, renewable energy.

The Reimagine LIPA Campaign is made up of over 40 community, environmental, faith, civil rights, Indigenous, and social justice organizations that came together in the aftermath of Tropic Storm Isaias to transform LIPA into a more democratic, accountable, fully public system.

Food & Water Watch volunteer Fred Harrison, a Merrick resident said:

“The future of a public Long Island Power Authority is bright. Cutting the cord with the scandalously incompetent PSEG will deliver concrete benefits to Long Islanders and our climate. As New York looks to adopt renewable public power by passing the Build Public Renewables Act, Long Island can lead the way, delivering affordable renewable energy that is accountable to we the people.”

“The LIPA Commission, established through ratepayer organizing, is our moment to reimagine, reinvent, and restructure LIPA and ensure it is led by those most affected by our energy system. Privatization failed us, PSEG is failing us, and now is the time for the public to lead us in a new direction,” said Ryan Madden, Sustainability Organizer with the Long Island Progressive Coalition. “Across the country and here in New York, public power is cheaper, more reliable, and better able to transition to renewables. Coupled with democratic reforms, more equitable rate structures, and community oversight of the utility, LIPA will become a model for the nation.”

“As a fourth generation Long Islander, I have a strong desire to see our community as a great place to live. The current LIPA/PSEG model has demonstrated for years its poor performance, high fees, inadequate service after storms, and punitive policies that cut users off from the basic rights to cook, use phones, and run home medical equipment. Corporations in the service of profit have no room in providing electricity to the public,” said Marion Flomenhaft, an activist with the Reimagine LIPA campaign from Malverne.

“PSEG LI is not accountable. They were not prepared for Tropical Storm Isaias and now as rates rise, they are shutting off power to seniors and low income residents. These hearings are a chance for ratepayers to demand a new system.  It’s our money, let’s create a renewable, resilient, public power system for Long Island and the Rockaways!” said Professor Michael Menser, Associate Director, Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay, Brooklyn College/CUNY.

“The Green Party of Nassau County supports fully turning LIPA over to the public. We must reimagine LIPA to prevent climate catastrophe, while not leaving our bank accounts more vulnerable as well. Only with the restructuring we’re asking for, will we be able to reasonably have a say in how it runs. A public process that convenes appropriate stakeholders to serve and engage our communities is the only conduit to genuinely improve all the prior managers’ unwillingness to,” said Joseph Naham, Chairperson of the Green Party of Nassau County.

“Long Island Activists stands with the residents of Long Island, local businesses, and all the organizations who are demanding that the Long Island Power Authority recognize that the service provided under the current public-private model is flawed and does not serve our best interests,” said Joe Sackman, Long Island Activists Steering Committee Member. “With ongoing issues around service, response to storms, and a need for a system that can handle all the current and future utility demands of our communities, the best solution for Long Islanders is one that embraces a fully public utility model. We need a system that gives the community a say in how things are run and puts the needs of the rate-payers before profits.”

Contact: Phoebe Galt, [email protected]