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Robert K. Sweeney
Assembly District 11
Chair, Environmental Conservation Committee
Assembly Passes Sweeney Legislation to Require PSC Review of LIPA Surcharges
May 15, 2006

Assemblyman Bob Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst) announced the passage of his legislation to prevent the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) from imposing surcharges such as those currently attached to ratepayers' bills. The legislation would set into law the need for the Public Service Commission’s (PSC) approval of any rate increase of more than 2 ˝ percent a year.

Assemblyman Sweeney said "LIPA's fuel adjustment surcharge has caused homeowners bills to skyrocket. LIPA has raised rates seven times since 2001 without ever going before the Public Service Commission. Surcharges now account for 34.5 percent of a LIPA bill, or $630 per year for the average customer. LIPA has included costs within its fuel surcharge that the PSC has not allowed other utilities to include. It is simply wrong that LIPA is skirting its obligations to be open and provide transparency with its customers.”

While LIPA has said it will at long last seek a PSC review of its rates, the utility breached its contractual obligation to do so prior to imposing a fuel surcharge. The bill, which passed the Assembly unanimously, is sponsored by Senator LaValle in the Senate. The legislation will require that the PSC review LIPA's rate requests before they are passed on to the consumer.

“Long Island ratepayers will benefit from the comprehensive review of LIPA’s practices by the professional staff of the PSC. We have all suffered due to the lack of strong oversight of the practices and ratemaking of LIPA,” said Sweeney.

"This measure will protect businesses and homeowners from unfair rate hikes and ensure greater oversight of LIPA's rate increase practices," concluded Assemblyman Sweeney.

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