The state’s Legislative Commission on the Future of the Long Island Power Authority has scheduled five hearings over the next month to hear from local officials and community stakeholders, officials announced on Thursday.
The state-budgeted commission tasked with establishing a more effective operational model for how the organization serves Long Islanders will have its first meeting on Nov. 17 at 1 p.m. in Farmingdale where they will select a chairperson and determine its agenda.
The first public meeting where live testimony will be heard is scheduled for Nov. 29 at 10 a.m. at the Hofstra University Student Center. A virtual meeting later that evening will also be held, which will be followed up by a pair of hearings on Dec. 15 and Dec. 16 so residents of the Rockaways and Suffolk County, respectively, can voice their thoughts.
State Sen. Kevin Thomas and Assemblyman Fred Thiele, both co-chairs of the commission, said they are pleased to have forums scheduled so that those whose daily lives are affected by the power authority can made their thoughts, suggestions and concerns heard.
“With the creation of the Advisory Committee, the Legislative Commission on the Future of the Long Island Power Authority has assembled a distinguished cross section of Long Islanders to assist the Legislative Commission with its mission to transform LIPA into a transparent and accountable electric utility that can deliver reliable service at a more affordable cost,” Thiele said in a statement.
“The LIPA Commission Advisory Committee members are made up of community leaders across Long Island that we believe best reflect the diverse interests of Suffolk, Nassau, and the Rockaways residents,” Thomas said. “I’m proud of the team assembled to serve as Advisory Committee members, and we look forward to hearing directly from the public on ways to make their utility services more affordable and efficient during the public hearings.”
Great Neck resident and former state Assemblyman Rory Lancman was named the commission’s executive director in late September. Lancman said Long Islanders and residents of Queens deserve to have accessible, reliable and cost-effective electric service, lauding the establishment of the commission and expressing his appreciation for his appointment to the group.
Aside from serving as a state assemblyman, Lancman also served as a member of the New York City Council before moving to Great Neck last year with his wife Mojgan, the first Iranian-American to be elected as a state Supreme Court Judge.
He also served as a statewide special counsel for ratepayer protection, presiding over a meeting where New Yorkers expressed their experiences with the Power Authority’s service following Tropical Storm Isaias in August 2020.
During that meeting, LIPA CEO Thomas Falcone described Isaias as a “management failure.”
“Every failure that occurred during this storm could have been prevented by competent management,” Falcone said during the meeting. “I want to share with you an internal email from a PSEG employee from mid-July, just three weeks before the storm. The employee stated to his boss that the outage management system, the key system that failed during the storm, was quote ‘not even managing on a day-to-day basis, and we are definitely not prepared for a weather event.’ That was three weeks before the storm.”
PSEG estimated that 420,000 of its customers across the island lost power during or following the storm, with an estimated 15,528 customers having to wait more than a week for their service to return.
The power authority currently contracts its day-to-day operations to PSEG: Long Island. Officials said they are required to present their restructuring ideas to the legislation before Dec. 31, 2025.
More information on the hearings and how to submit testimonies can be found online at https://nylipa.gov/.