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Jan 21, 2015 1:01 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Thiele Blasts PSEG, Says 2014 Power Surges And Outages Hurt Southampton Businesses

Jan 28, 2015 8:59 AM

PSEG-Long Island has denied several claims for reimbursement filed by several Southampton Village businesses, and the village itself, that had to replace equipment damaged during power surges and service interruptions from fall through winter of 2014, State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. said in a press release on Wednesday, January 21.

According to Mr. Thiele, several businesses on Jobs Lane were inconvenienced from September to December when defective bolt connectors, failing transformers and other equipment failures caused both power surges and power outages along the street. As a result, computers, furnace controls, credit card machines, lighting, food storage equipment, and surveillance cameras permanently malfunctioned and needed to be replaced. In some instances, Mr. Thiele said, businesses had up to $60,000 in damages, and Southampton Village was on the hook for $10,000 in new equipment, money that PSEG is refusing to reimburse.

“I’ve said it a thousand times, and I’ll say it again—the LIPA Reform Act did absolutely nothing,” Mr. Thiele said in his release, referring to legislation that changed the oversight of the former Long Island Power Authority. “PSEG is not more accountable to its ratepayers or the small businesses that hold the East End’s economy together. PSEG-LI must grant these claims and pay for the damage they caused."

According to Jeffrey S. Weir, director of communications for PSEG, the utility company did review and investigate all of the claims filed. However, he said, the company is not liable for damages that arise from circumstances beyond its control.

"PSEG Long Island thoroughly reviews and investigates all claims on behalf of LIPA and, in accordance with the LIPA tariff, the claims in question were denied," he wrote in an email. "We are committed to providing safe, reliable service. However, should service be interrupted due to causes beyond our control, neither LIPA nor PSEG Long Island are liable."

On Tuesday, Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley said he hopes the utility company will change its mind, noting that its customer service has left something to be desired. He added that while many people did not like LIPA, power authority officials would at least talk about problems.

He added that because of the power surges, the village had to replace streetlights in parking lots as well as surveillance cameras and septic pumps.

"A lot of people complained about LIPA. I never did, but the thing about them is, yes, they had their deficiencies, but they always had people you could reach out to and talk to," Mr. Epley said. "PSEG does not have that."

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The electrical grid is owned by Ny State, and it is antiquated. The system was just taken over by PSEG and somehow it is their fault. We have the highest electrical rates in the country, and none of the money is reinvested. Politicians like Fred Thiele have used the electrical company as a place for political appointees,and a place for patronage jobs. Now he is acting like it's a surprise that we have crummy electrical service. Another clueless politician that has to go.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jan 21, 15 5:49 PM
2 members liked this comment
Since when are power companies responsible for damages from surges? Ive never heard of such a thing.
By Zorro (66), Southampton on Jan 21, 15 11:16 PM
When the equipment is antiquated and not serviced or replaced in a timely manner and fails, that is negligence. When it causes damage to consumer's equipment, such negligence makes the entity which is responsible for the equipment liable.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jan 22, 15 9:37 AM
Good luck proving the negligence. That's one of the most difficult lawsuits to pursue. If you connect to the grid, you are automatically taking on a certain level of risk. If your kid sticks his finger in the wall socket and is killed, is that PSEG negligence?
By Zorro (66), Southampton on Jan 22, 15 3:56 PM
Has anyone else here seen a LARGE increase in their electric bill since PSE&G took over? I am paying about $ 100 more per month!!!
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Jan 22, 15 9:22 AM
Oil has gone down 60%, and our electric rates are going up. We are paying for foolish benefit, and pension benefits.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jan 22, 15 1:10 PM
Assemblyman Thiele complains about a problem he has failed to fix for *20 years*. It's nice to soapbox over the low hanging fruit. Where is your outrage with our electric rates? Where were you during the hurricane? You need look only to Patch and this paper to see how other elected officials were involved during and after the hurricane. Where was your input? Where were you when the LIPA board of trustees had vacancies and crony appointments? Yes, Assemblyman Thiele, the LIPA reform act did nothing ...more
By diy_guy (101), Southampton on Jan 22, 15 5:14 PM
2 members liked this comment
Thiele just collects a check and uses the influence of his office to benefit his law practice. I am sure he learned all he could from the likes of Silver.
By Preliator Lives (437), Obamavillie on Jan 23, 15 7:37 AM
1 member liked this comment
This is the most corrupt crooked states in the country. Check out Sheldon Silver our assembly leader who has was arrested today taking 4 million in bribes. All his Democratic cronies are standing up for him. They need to clean house of all state legislators they all point fingers at others. Fred please retire
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jan 22, 15 5:29 PM
Thiele just wanted to see his name in the press
By westhamptonboy (227), Westhampton on Feb 1, 15 1:40 PM
has fred ever met a microphone he didn't want to kiss?
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Feb 3, 15 4:55 PM