Governor proposes privatization of L.I.'s utilities

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“We appreciate the confidence Gov. Cuomo has placed in PSEG to serve the electric customers of Long Island,” said Karen Johnson, a spokeswoman for PSEG. “We continue to actively work with the state of New York to come up with an agreement that enhances our current management services contract. We also support the governor’s efforts to pass legislation that will clarify and streamline operational management, and enable PSEG to take on an expanded role.”

In March, Johnson told the Herald that the company has created PSEG Long Island, a separate subsidiary dedicated to managing its Long Island responsibilities. The management team, she said, “Will live on Long Island and will be visible and available.”

LIPA has operated Long Island’s utilities since 1998, when it acquired the assets of the Long Island Lighting Company. It also inherited LILCO’s approximate $7 million debt, which has not decreased since.

Cuomo has proposed to decrease the debt by securing a lower interest rate. It is expected that ratepayers would pick up part of the debt, but the electric delivery charge would be reduced to offset that cost. According to a press release, the governor would also use the transition to find a “fair and balanced solution to address the taxes that are assessed on the Long Island utility plants and power system.” Lower property taxes, read the release, can be used to lower rates or reduce the debt for the first time in 15 years.

LIPA did not respond to a request for comment.

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