On Wednesday, Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. (D-Sag Harbor) announced that he has been appointed by Speaker Carl Heastie to serve on the Legislative Commission on the Future of the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), together with Assemblymembers Stacey Pheffer Amato and Judy Griffin. Assemblyman Thiele, who sponsored the original legislation, will be serving as co-chair of the commission tasked with formulating a plan to restructure LIPA into a true publicly owned model. Senators Kevin Thomas (co-chair), James Gaughran, and James Sanders, Jr. have also been recently appointed to the commission.
The eight-member commission will investigate criteria such as potential models of governance, labor contracts, renewable investments, impact on current bonded debt, and comprehensive enhancements to system reliability and public involvement. As enacted in the 2022-2023 State Budget, guiding and assisting the commission will be an advisory committee of local stakeholders from all areas of interest, including business, labor, local government, Indian nations and tribes, environment, social justice, and education. No later than December 31, 2022, the commission is required to issue a draft report to the Legislature regarding the establishment of a public power model for the operation of LIPA. A final report is due no later than April 1, 2023.
“The establishment of this new Commission is a huge and necessary step towards making LIPA the transparent and accountable public utility that the ratepayers in the LIPA service area have long deserved”, said Assemblyman Thiele. “The third-party management model that LIPA has used for decades has failed time and again. I look forward to working with my colleagues to implement a new transparent model for LIPA that is more efficient and responsive to the public. Finally, the Commission has the opportunity to ensure that a new LIPA will be a leader in meeting the state’s climate goals.”