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The politically connected in charge at LIPA, not energy experts

Nov 20, 2012

Most of the seated members of the 10-person Board of Directors at Long Island Power Authority are there not because of what they know about energy companies but more because of who they know in the right places. 

According to a report, eight of the ten people on LIPA's board of directors has political affiliations with state leaders in Albany, N.Y., and have no experience in managing or even the basic functions of a power company. Just one board member, the report indicates, has any experience in energy. 

LIPA is currently facing increasing public scrutiny and impending legal trouble as businesses and individuals begin to learn that the power company was negligent in its preparations and response to Superstorm Sandy. Tens of thousands of its customers lost electricity during the storm and those outages persisted as the company failed to enact a plan in dealing with the widespread catastrophe.

Thousands of business owners in the Long Island area, served by LIPA, believe the company's negligence in its resopnse to Sandy, has continued to cost them tremendous losses, losses that are multiplying by the day and threaten to put them out of business entirely. Three high-powered law firms serving the Long Island and New York area, including the national law firm of Parker Waichman LLP, have combined to serve those businesses and individuals affected by LIPA's alleged negligence.

Of the 10 board members currently seated with LIPA, the one with a background in energy companies told WNYC that getting people to serve on the volunteer organization is difficult and compared the preparations and response to Superstorm Sandy a "Herculean task" but the source indicates that LIPA's board has only met once since the storm hit on Oct. 29. 

The watchdog group, Environmental Advocates for New York, told WNYC that the way LIPA is organized and managed does not meet the needs of the public, particularly regarding its growing demand for electricity. 

Even though he is technically responsible for the make-up of the board at LIPA currently, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that he is organizing a special committee to investigate how organizations like LIPA can be improved to prevent careless responses to natural disasters and other widespread power outages in the future.

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