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Aiming to strengthen the Long Island Public Service Commission office

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After what is being considered a “woefully inadequate” response to Tropical Storm Isaias by PSEG-Long Island, two state legislators are sponsoring legislation to bolster the oversight capacity of the Long Island Office of the Public Service Commission.

Assemblywoman Melissa Miller, of Atlantic Beach, and Assemblyman Ed Ra, from Franklin Square, both Republicans, are seeking to increase protection for the power utility’s customers by cresting what they call an “independent consumer utility advocate.”

Miller took part in a joint hearing of the Senate and Assembly as a member of the Environmental Conservation Committee on Aug. 20 to examine the power and communication failures after the tropical storm.

“Long Island was ill-prepared to deal with the most recent tropical storm, Isaias, and this will be the first of many storms we face this season,” Miller said in a statement. “We heard a lot about what went wrong and it is vital that the Long Island Office of the Public Service Commission is held to a higher standard.”

The proposed bill would build on the 2013 LIPA Reform Act, which created the Long Island Office of the Public Service Commission after Hurricane Sandy. The legislators said that the response to Tropical Storm Isaias underscores countless issues ratepayers have been facing for years.

“Emergency responses need to be urgent and swift,” Ra said in a statement. “When seniors are trapped in their homes without air conditioning and hundreds of thousands of people on Long Island look out their window and see dangerous debris and downed power lines days after a disaster, there’s a serious problem that needs to be solved. Our bill is about making these massive energy companies accountable to hardworking ratepayers. It’s the right thing to do.”