By A. G. Moore 2/ 27/ 2013
Mark Harrington of Newsday wrote yet another revealing article about Andrew Cuomo’s scheme to privatize LIPA (New York’s Long Island Power Authority). The long-troubled energy entity has operated with neither efficiency nor efficacy during its brief stewardship of Long Island’s energy delivery system. The Governor of New York, who took no interest in LIPA before the spotlight was fixed on his inaction in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, has proposed a quick solution to the LIPA fiasco. Cuomo wants to turn delivery of energy on Long Island over to a private entity. Plans for privatization seem to be high on his list of to-dos, despite the numerous studies which indicate that in the long-term, privatization will impose upon Long Islander consumers onerous rate increases.
The obvious benefit of Cuomo’s privatization scheme is that, with this fix, he can move on to other issues. According to his plan, privatization would freeze rates for three years–just long enough for him to get out of town and move on to other political ambitions. Just long enough for him to claim he solved Long Island’s energy delivery problem without expanding government. This may look good on Cuomo’s resume, but it will not look good on the balance sheets of Long Island consumers or businesses. Increased energy costs will make living on the Island even more unaffordable for middle class residents than it is now–and more inhospitable for local businesses which are already struggling to stay viable.
Harrington cites a number of independent studies that indicate rate increases with privatization are inevitable. Representatives of the governor’s office dismiss these reports–despite their unbiased perspective. It is appropriate for every Long Island resident to question why Cuomo is so committed to privatization, when this scheme has met with so much legitimate opposition.