Thiele Wants PSEG Review

Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., who has been critical of PSEG-Long Island, the utility company that operates the Long Island Power Authority grid, for a number of its practices, is calling for a review of payments, including executive pay and fees to consultants and contractors, made by PSEG under its contract with LIPA.

He is sponsoring legislation that would empower the Long Island office of the State Department of Public Service to undertake the review. In a press release this week, the assemblyman said that last week PSEG-Long Island “refused to make public the executive compensation for its 18 top officials,” claiming that the information is “exempt from state scrutiny or public disclosure under the LIPA Reform Act passed in 2013.” The legislation is meant to bring “transparency and oversight” to the utility’s salary spending, according to Mr. Thiele.

Under a 12-year management contract between LIPA and PSEG-Long Island, the fee paid to PSEG is due to increase from $45 million to $73 million in 2016.

The Department of Public Service has no decision-making authority over electricity rates but does make recommendations to the LIPA board about petitions for rate changes and other PSEG matters. Mr. Thiele said that PSEG-Long Island has been accused of hindering the department’s scrutiny of a proposed three-year rate hike by failing to respond to more than two dozen separate information requests.

“PSEG-LI is a contractor for a public authority (LIPA) that has as its mission the supplying of a most basic societal need: electricity. Its revenue is generated by the payment of the monthly electric bill of every Long Island resident and business,” said Mr. Thiele in his press release. “The people’s right to review the documents and information related to the operation of its utility company should be obvious in a democratic society. Access to such information should not be thwarted by shrouding it with the cloak of secrecy or confidentiality.”