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Dec 8, 2008 1:10 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Thiele, LaValle want LIPA investigated

Dec 8, 2008 1:10 PM

Two state lawmakers have asked the New York State comptroller to investigate the cost of the Long Island Power Authority’s new transmission line between Southampton and Bridgehampton.

LIPA agreed in the spring to bury the entire line if ratepayers in part of Southampton Town paid 45 percent of the cost through a usage-based surcharge known as a visual benefit assessment (VBA) on their utility bills. The project was originally estimated to cost $8 million, but the utility company now estimates it will cost as much as $12 million.

State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle and State Assemblyman Fred Thiele issued a statement this week asking State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli to include the project in his current LIPA audit. The lawmakers are asking the comptroller to determine the total cost of the project and to investigate how much of the extra $4 million can be attributed to the portion of the project that will be paid for by ratepayers.

“LIPA authorized substantial overtime to complete the project,” read the lawmakers’ statement. “It is certain that not all the additional expenditures were to construct only the 45 percent which was the subject of the VBA.”

Mr. Thiele also issued a release this week slamming LIPA for its recently proposed 4.8 percent rate increase. He said that earlier this year, the New York State Legislature passed a law that would require LIPA to provide notice of rate increases of over 2.5 percent to the State Public Service Commission and to provide evidence of the need for an increase in a hearing. Governor David Paterson vetoed that bill on September 4.

Mr. Thiele said that he was stumped by the utility’s need for a rate increase when oil has tumbled from an all-time high price of $147 per barrel in July to lows around $45 this week, particularly when 55 percent of LIPA’s budget is the cost of fuel and purchased power.

“Now it is clear why LIPA fought PSC oversight so vociferously. This rate increase has obviously been in the works for months,” said Mr. Thiele in a release this week. “LIPA will only work for the people when the people can select their LIPA Trustees.... There should be immediate action in Albany to elect the LIPA Trustees.

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When they say "Southampton Town" Do they mean township? Because if they mean "township," here in Hamptonbays I'm saving up for the tax increase. Sorry to sound ignorant but why are we burying these lines in the first place? I thought we were in the middle of a "Decession". If someone tells me this is cosmetic, I'm going to burst a blood vessel... Please tell me this will save lives, cure some sort of disease or help wold peace...
By Soundview (89), Hampton bays on Dec 11, 08 12:13 PM
Is my memory correct wasn't it Fred Thiele who was so instrumental in closing Shoreham nuclear power plant and saddling the rate payers with a 7 billion dollar debt which now accounts for us being the highest charging utility in the continental U.S. I know hind sight is 20/20 but wouldn't it have better to have the benefit of that plant producing electricity. But no Mr Thiele bought into the hysteria of a vocal group of opponents. Isn't the government starting to discuss the building of new nuclear ...more
By harbor man (47), sag harbor on Dec 13, 08 8:32 PM
I believe the reasoning behind closing Shoreham was because no one wanted another nuclear facility in their backyards. Secondly, as much as I am pro nuclear power it is realized that we need to find safe ways to rid them of spent fuel. The fears people have of nuclear plants is due to the problems that were encountered from plants years ago. It is very rare you hear of any incidents today engineering and technology have come a long way. Utilities and the government need to start educating ...more
By BeachGal12 (8), Hampton Bays on Dec 15, 08 11:38 AM