Editor's Note: The following blog post was submitted by State Assemblyman Al Graf, who has recently signed on as a new Patch blogger. We look forward to Assemblyman Graf's continuing contributions.
Today, I was quoted in Newsday as asking the question whether LIPA should be broken up into smaller municipal electric companies. It is important to further explore what the benefits might be.
Right now LIPA pursuant to the LIPA act cannot access what is called preference power. Preference power is available to municipal electric companies.
Examples of municipal electric companies that have access to this preference power include Greenport, Freeport, Rockville Centre and Lake Placid. These municipal electric companies provide the cheapest power in the state to homeowners, businesses, school districts, and municipalities.
To explain, LIPA currently pays New York Power Authority (NYPA) nine (9) cents per kilowatt, while the municipal electric companies buys the preference power from the same source, NYPA, for one (1) cent per kilowatt.
Preference power is set aside for municipal electric companies. If Suffolk and Nassau were to create their own municipal electric companies would they be qualified to access this preference power. This is a question that needs to be explored.
Understand that Lake Placid is located in the Adirondacks were the temperatures falls below zero (0) degrees, yet the cost of power is so cheap that everyone heats their homes and businesses with electric baseboard heat.
To put this in further perspective, currently the Town of Islip’s electric bill per month is $330,000, the Town of Brookhaven pays $450,000 per month, Sachem School District pays approximately $240,000 a month, and Suffolk County pays a whopping $1,770,000 per month.
In order to stimulate our economy, by making us more competitive in order to draw businesses to our community, and thus create job growth we must take every opportunity to reduce the cost of electricity here on Long Island.
The cost of electricity is the driving factor that is making Long Island unaffordable for our children, seniors, neighbors, friends, and businesses.
We have a great opportunity to make changes in a positive way so that our children, parents and neighbors are not forced to move to another state. This conversation has to be had. We should not rush for the sake of rushing. This is an opportunity to make positive changes that will affect future generations here on Long Island. Let’s have this conversation. What do you think?
NEWSDAY: LEGISLATORS SKEPTICAL OF LIPA PRIVATIZATION PLAN