Energy policy

Civic association swears in at the June 3 meeting. Photo by Aidan Johnson

By Aidan Johnson

Dozens of residents attended the Mount Sinai Civic Association meeting June 3 to voice their safety concerns over a potential new battery energy storage system facility locally.

The facility, proposed by New Leaf Energy, would have a 20-year lifespan, after which the site would need to be restored to its pre-project condition.

The proposed area is adjacent to Mount Sinai-Coram Road and Route 25A on property owned by real estate agent Ray Manzoni. However, because this property is zoned as transitional business, New Leaf Energy’s application proposes the zone be changed to light industrial.

Former county Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai), who has been a vocal critic of the proposal, and Brookhaven Town Supervisor Dan Panico (R) also attended. While speaking, Panico addressed misinformation on social media that incorrectly told Mount Sinai residents that “the people in either Holbrook or Holtsville fought the battery storage there, and what they’re not getting is coming to Mount Sinai.”

Anker voiced common worries that residents had about the storage system facility.

“We just want to understand that what is going to happen is safe,” Anker said. “I don’t have a problem with renewable energy. We need the battery storage, we’re going to need that, but it’s the location,” she added, calling the proposed site the “worst intersection probably in Suffolk County.”

“Multiple accidents have happened there, the school district is close by, the water authority has a well right there, there’s a recreational path. There’s so many reasons we don’t need to change commercial to industrial,” she said.

Civic President Brad Arrington also discussed how LIPA, which owns an empty parcel of land next to the substation, could theoretically put a battery facility there without any input from the town government due to being immune from the local zoning authority.

“They could put a battery facility there which would carry the same risk that people are concerned about today, the difference being that when LIPA puts that in, they do not have to provide any community benefit, which is what has been proposed with this property,” Arrington said.

New Leaf is proposing an initial upfront payment of $340,000 — $85,000 per battery installation — with the allocation of this money to the school district, fire department and more not yet determined. The company also originally reserved $500 per megawatt, for a total of $10,000 annually, but raised it to $12,000 with a 2% annual increase to cover the current property taxes going to the school district.

Residents expressed concerns about what would happen if there was a fire at the facility, inquiring about the chemicals that would be emitted into the air and ground and how it would affect the surrounding area, including the school district and homes.

However, Arrington said the proposed facility would have lithium iron phosphate batteries, which “have a lower energy density, but have a far reduced rate of thermal runaway,” as opposed to the lithium NMC batteries that, while much more energy dense, are more prone to spontaneously catch on fire.

He also explained that a chain reaction would not take place, meaning that if thermal runaway does happen, it would be isolated in its own compartmentalized container.

Additionally, since the battery would have to burn itself out instead of being put out with water by the fire department, Arrington said that according to New Leaf, there wouldn’t be runoff into the ground. Also contamination with the soil and the off-gassing would be extremely limited.

Panico did not answer whether or not he supported the project, instead saying that he would review the application and talk to his colleagues, including Councilwoman Jane Bonner (R-Rocky Point), who represents the area.

Arrington said the town board would not take a vote to approve the project without input from the civic, which will hold a meeting for the civic members to vote in October.

Paul Rogers from ESRG speaks to the civic association while Sid Bail stands before the podium and Key Capture Energy’s Phil Denara listens. Photo courtesy Stephanie Bail

By Samantha Rutt

Wading River Civic Association convened on May 23 to discuss a significant new development — a proposed battery energy storage system facility, known as BESS, on LIPA-owned property in Shoreham. The meeting, held at Wading River Congregational Church, drew a considerable crowd interested in learning about the project’s specifics and its implications for the community.

After concluding the business portion of the meeting, addressing new membership, voting rules and general notices, the civic’s focus shifted to the proposal from the Albany-based company, Key Capture Energy. 

Key Capture Energy is an independent power producer of utility-scale battery storage system projects. “Currently, in New York State, KCE operates three battery energy storage facilities — including the largest operational facility,” said Phil Denara, director of development at KCE. 

The company’s proposal is not the first Long Island has seen, as other companies with similar objectives have visited neighboring civic organizations and presented their systems. Indeed, KCE has plans for facilities at Babylon and Cutchogue. 

The increase in proposed battery energy storage facilities coincides with the Climate Leadership Protection Act, signed into law in 2019, essentially mandating greenhouse gas emissions to 40% by 2030 and no less than 85% by 2050 from 1990 levels. It also mandates 100% of electricity used in New York state must come from clean energy sources by 2040 with 70% renewable energy by 2030.

Project genesis and site selection

The discussion began with an explanation of the project’s origins and site selection process. The project was initiated to meet statewide goals for energy storage as Long Island transitions from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. With a local demand for approximately 5,000 megawatts of electricity, integrating storage systems with renewable energy such as offshore wind and solar is crucial.

“Here on Long Island we currently have a demand for electricity to the tune of 5,000 megawatts and so as we transition away from fossil fuels and toward renewables, we have to keep that number in mind,” Denara said.

As explained by Denara at the meeting, in 2021 Long Island Power Authority issued a competitive solicitation for bulk energy storage projects, seeking at least 175 MW of capacity. Developers bid on various sites, including those offered by LIPA, which were strategically located next to existing infrastructure to reduce the need for new development. This site was awarded in August 2022 and is now moving from preliminary design to execution.

Project scope and capacity

The BESS project at Shoreham is slated to have a capacity of 50 MW, enough to power tens of thousands of homes. 

While this represents only 1% of Long Island’s total power demand, it plays a critical role in the broader transition to renewable energy. Currently, there are only two full-scale BESS facilities on Long Island, both with a capacity of 5 MW each, located in East Hampton and Montauk. The East Hampton facility has been out of commission since a fire on May 31, 2023.

Site details and development stages

The Shoreham site is situated on approximately 2.3 acres of land near the former Long Island Lighting Company property. Development has involved boundary surveys, geotechnical studies and comprehensive environmental reviews.

For completion, the project must navigate three main development components: land-use acquisition and permitting, grid interconnection and commercial power delivery contracts. The site benefits from exemptions from the Town of Brookhaven’s zoning requirements, although the developers are adhering to these standards voluntarily. Local officials, including the Town Board and emergency services, have been engaged throughout the process to ensure transparency and community safety.

Technology and safety considerations

BESS will employ advanced lithium-ion battery technology. A significant point of discussion was the safety of these systems. Lithium-ion batteries are chosen for their high efficiency, with a round-trip efficiency of about 90%, essential for storing and dispatching renewable energy.

Paul Rogers of the Energy Safety Response Group — comprising retired firefighters, service people, engineers and first responders responsible for handling codes, standards and safety protocols — detailed the safety measures in place. These include multilayered safety listings and comprehensive monitoring systems to prevent overcharging and overheating. The system’s design ensures that in the unlikely event of a failure, the issue remains contained within an individual unit, preventing any propagation.

Community concerns and future technologies

Civic members raised questions about the long-term viability and environmental impact of lithium-ion batteries. Some suggested exploring alternative technologies such as sodium-ion batteries. While the current focus is on lithium-ion due to its proven efficiency and safety, the developers remained open to integrating future advancements.

The project is designed for a 20-year operational life, with plans for recycling and repurposing battery components at the end of their lifecycle. This contributes to a circular supply chain, reducing reliance on international resources and enhancing energy independence.

The Shoreham BESS facility is set to become a critical component of the local energy infrastructure, promising enhanced reliability and sustainability for the community.

The civic association plans to continue these discussions in future meetings, ensuring ongoing community engagement and transparency as the project progresses. The next civic meeting will be held on June 27 at 7:30 p.m. at the Wading River Congregational Church. 

Residents gather at the Heritage Center for a Mount Sinai Civic Association meeting. Photo courtesy Sarah Anker

By Sarah S. Anker

Over 100 residents gathered at the Heritage Center during a May 6 Mount Sinai Civic Association meeting to hear from New Leaf Energy, a battery storage company, about a proposed lithium-ion battery storage facility. 

According to the civic president, Brad Arrington, the plan to site the 20-megawatt battery storage system facility on a 1-acre parcel, located at the corner of Mount Sinai-Coram Road and Route 25A in Mount Sinai, has been in the works for seven years. Surprisingly, despite representing the area as a former Suffolk County legislator for the past 13 years, I only recently learned about this project.

Having facilitated the Green Homes and the Go Solar programs as the former director of Town of Brookhaven’s Office of Energy & Sustainability, I strongly support clean energy initiatives. However, I have concerns about the proposed location of this facility. Placing it on a 1-acre parcel with no buffers, near one of the county’s most accident-prone intersections, raises red flags. Additionally, the site is close to residential neighborhoods, a public walking path, an SCWA drinking water well and Mount Sinai schools.

I would have no problem if the siting were in an area that, if the units were to catch on fire, there would be less exposure to the highly toxic fumes emitted. After the East Hampton battery storage facility caught on fire, several towns — including Southampton, Southold and Huntington — moved forward with moratoriums. It is only common sense that more scrutiny be done to address the safety of these facilities and where they are placed. 

Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) has created the Inter-Agency Fire Safety Working Group to review the issue of battery storage systems safety. As the working group investigates the fires that have occurred at three New York locations, a moratorium is needed in Brookhaven to ensure the safety of its residents. 

Over 20 years ago, a Home Depot was proposed to be built on the site that is now Mount Sinai’s centerpiece, the North Shore Heritage Park. We fought hard to create the park by collecting petitions, writing letters to our elected officials, wrapping green ribbons around our mailboxes and rallying our community together. Can you image if no one cared back then, and a Home Depot was built? Eighteen-wheeler trucks would snarl traffic, the green rolling hills would be black pavement and the memories of community concerts, holiday events, sports games and the springtime daffodil smiling face on the hill would be lost. 

Just as location, location, location is what the realtors say when emphasizing the value of real estate, let’s also consider the location of this project and the value we place on public safety and quality of life. Do we really want an industrial parcel located in the heart of our hometown? The project cannot move forward until the Town Board votes to change the zoning to light industrial. I encourage residents to attend upcoming Town Board meetings and provide input before a decision is made. Government is here for you when they hear from you. 

Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) is a District 1 candidate for the New York State Senate and was formerly a Suffolk County legislator.  

With the help of Sunrise Wind, New York plans to operate with 70% renewable energy by 2030. Photo courtesy Shutterstock

By Serena Carpino

Sunrise Wind, an offshore wind project dedicated to powering thousands of Long Island homes through the use of clean energy, received federal approval on March 26. Specifically, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has granted a Record of Decision. This is an important milestone in the development of offshore wind projects across New York. 

The project, which is set to begin operating in 2026, is located about 30 miles east of Montauk and will bring an estimated 800 jobs to Long Island. In addition to the $700 million in investment the project will bring to Suffolk County, it will also power around 600,000 homes with clean energy. 

Aside from receiving federal approval, Ørsted and Eversource, the two companies that have partnered to create Sunrise Wind, also announced that they took the final investment decision on the project, ensuring their commitment. 

By 2030, New York plans to operate with 70% renewable energy, and Sunrise Wind will play a key role in achieving this goal. Project managers recently negotiated an offshore wind renewable energy certificate agreement with New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to provide clean energy to the state for 25 years through an offshore wind farm with a maximum capacity of 924MW. 

​​“These milestones achieved by Ørsted and Eversource on the heels of South Fork Wind entering full operation demonstrate New York’s leadership in building the U.S. offshore wind industry with Sunrise Wind and future projects on their way to generating clean wind energy to power the grid,” said Doreen Harris, president and CEO at NYSERDA. 

The project will bring many financial benefits to New York. According to Harris, “As the onshore supply chain work moves forward, we will continue to see the economic investments in communities from the Capital Region to Long Island come to fruition in the form of good paying jobs and community benefits that are a critical part of our clean energy transition.”

Harris is not the only official who highlighted the economic benefits that wind projects bring to New York. David Hardy, group EVP and CEO at Ørsted North America, explained that the South Fork Wind project has already provided great benefits to the state economy through its production of renewable energy. The efforts of Sunrise Wind will continue and build upon this project. 

Furthermore, Hardy said, “With the federal Record of Decision in hand and our final investment decision having been made, we can continue to create hundreds of local union jobs and set up a vibrant supply chain. We thank the Biden administration, our state partners and the congressional delegation for their continued leadership to advance this important project.”

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) also weighed in: “Today’s announcement that Sunrise Wind has flown through another critical milestone, combined with the recent announcement that South Fork Wind is officially online, shows that the sky is the limit for offshore wind.”

In addition, U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY20) said, “I have always believed in the potential for New York to play a leading role in our nation’s offshore wind and clean energy development, and I have pushed hard at the federal level to drive investments that grow out this industry.” 

Tonko added, “Today’s milestone announcement will help build on our region’s leadership in this field while supporting good paying jobs and securing our clean energy future.” He also remarked, “I’m grateful to Ørsted and Eversource for their partnership and investment in our region, and I look forward to seeing the impact of these projects for our state, our economy and our environment.”


Sunrise Wind. Photo courtesy Sunrise Wind

By Serena Carpino

Several Suffolk County elected officials have gathered in support for Sunrise Wind, an offshore wind project dedicated to using clean energy to power thousands of Long Island homes. 

Sunrise Wind is operated under a 50/50 partnership between Ørsted, a Danish international climate action leader, and Eversource, a national leader in clean energy. The project has been ongoing since 2019 and organizers aim to have it completed by 2026, with the farm generating about 924 megawatts and supplying energy to nearly 600,000 homes across the Island. 

Sunrise Wind is located approximately 30 miles east of Montauk. Developers plan to run cables through Smith Point Beach that will connect to Long Island’s electricity grid in Holbrook. Officials intend to use the wind farm to provide Island residents with 70% renewable energy by 2030, and 100% by 2040. Eventually, they hope to make Sunrise Wind a national energy hub. 

The project has received bipartisan support across the county, with members of both parties agreeing to look toward a more renewable future. Officials supporting Sunrise Wind include County Executive Ed Romaine (R), state Assemblyman Joe DeStefano (R-Medford), Brookhaven Town Supervisor Dan Panico (R), and other business and labor leaders. 

“Here, this is not a Democrat or Republican issue,” Romaine explained. “Our focus is local and since we all live here, we want to solve the problems together to get this done. When I look at the future, I realize we’re going to need more energy than ever: Why not renewable?”

Other officials have commented how the project is already helping parts of Long Island with its $700 million investment in jobs, assets, and partnerships across Suffolk County. 

“In the Mastic-Shirley community, Patriots Preserve, we got our first million dollars from this agreement,” Panico said. “We used that money in the creation of a beautiful pristine park in the tri-hamlet community, one of the most densely populated communities that is underserved.”

Furthermore, Sunrise Wind has brought many job opportunities to Long Island residents. According to Meaghan Wims, a spokesperson for Sunrise Wind, the project will “deliver major economic benefits and local jobs to New York … while accelerating the state’s growing offshore wind workforce and supply chain.”

Many officials agree that Sunrise Wind will bring many benefits to Long Island. However, they have also addressed potential concerns about the effect on marine life and fisheries. 

“Climate change is an existential threat to the biodiversity of the natural world, and one of the best ways to protect that biodiversity is the development of clean energy,” Wims explained. That being said, Sunrise Wind takes “great care to ensure that offshore wind and wildlife coexist and thrive. We’ve taken a number of steps to ensure this coexistence, often by being directly responsive to requests from the fishing community.”

For example, officials at Sunrise Wind decided the boundaries of the wind farm after considering feedback from parties that could be affected. In addition, “we’ve set the industry standard by agreeing to uniform 1 x 1 nautical mile spacing across and gridded layout of our lease areas,” Wims said. “This is the widest spacing of any offshore wind farm in the world.” Because of this type of spacing, marine transit and fishery activity can continue to occur. 

In addition to Sunrise Wind, Ørsted and Eversource also have South Fork Wind and Revolution Wind in the works. South Fork Wind is estimated to provide 132 MW of energy to New York and is projected to become the first utility-scale offshore wind farm in United States waters. 

Revolution Wind will supply Rhode Island and Connecticut with 704 MW of power and offshore construction is set to begin in several months.

New York State Sen. Mario Mattera speaks out against the state’s ban on gas-powered stoves, furnaces and propane heating during a rally in Hauppauge Wednesday, Oct. 18. Photo by Raymond Janis

New York State’s ban on natural gas is coming under fire.

Dozens of public officials, union workers and policy advocates rallied outside the Perry B. Duryea Jr. State Office Building in Hauppauge Wednesday morning, Oct. 18, protesting the state’s recent ban on natural gas, slated to take effect on Dec. 31, 2025.

News Flash:

Generated by ChatGPT, edited by our staff

  • Protest against New York State’s natural gas ban: Public officials, union workers and policy advocates rally against New York State’s ban on natural gas, expressing concerns about its impact on jobs, energy prices and the economy.
  • Legal challenge to the ban: Plaintiffs in the Mulhern Gas Co. v. Rodriguez lawsuit argue that the ban violates federal law, specifically the Energy Policy and Conservation Act.
  • Calls for realistic energy approaches: Opponents of the natural gas ban advocate for a balanced and diversified energy portfolio, highlighting the challenges of transitioning to an all-electric system.

During the rally, attendees chanted, “We need a plan, not a ban.”

This natural gas provision was included in this year’s fiscal year budget, passed by the Democratic-controlled state Legislature and signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) in May.

The law bans gas-powered stoves, furnaces and propane heating, encouraging using climate-friendly appliances such as heat pumps and induction stoves in new residential buildings. It also requires all-electric heating and cooking in new buildings shorter than seven stories by 2026 and for taller buildings by 2029.

New York State Sen. Mario Mattera (R-St. James), ranking member on the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee, offered several objections to the natural gas ban, fearing the measure would trigger layoffs and hiring freezes, spike energy prices and exacerbate the region’s unaffordability crisis and overtaxed electrical grid.

“We know that this is going to hurt not just our homeowners but our economy,” Mattera said. “We are here today to say stop with this unrealistic ban and come together to create a realistic plan.”

Those gathered Wednesday strongly supported the plaintiffs in Mulhern Gas Co. v. Rodriguez, who seek to invalidate the ban on the legal grounds that the federal Energy Policy and Conservation Act preempts the state law.

“New York State’s law violates the United States Constitution,” said Town of Babylon Supervisor Rich Schaffer (D), who is also affiliated with the Plumbing Contractors Association of Long Island, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. “This law that was passed and signed is unconstitutional. So that means it’s an opportunity to go back to the drawing board.”

New York State Assemblyman Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Smithtown) endorsed a more diversified energy portfolio for Long Island to meet the demands of today’s modern economy. While he expressed support for promoting alternative energy sources, he suggested these alternatives are still not yet economically viable to stand alone.

“Consumers are not ready for what the radical environmentalists have planned for us,” the assemblyman said. “People want to turn on the electricity or turn on that gas and cook a nice meal for their families. They can’t do it all-electric.”

State Sen. Jack Martins (R-Old Westbury) said Long Island’s electrical grid cannot handle an electric-only transition. He noted the potential dangers of an electric-only energy economy, pointing to frequent outages due to downed trees and storms. “If we don’t have an alternate means of powering our homes, people are going to get hurt,” he warned.

Union leaders from across industries spoke out in opposition to the natural gas ban. Richard Brooks, business manager for Plumbers Local 200, referred to natural gas as “an essential transitional fuel that will help our nation as we move to greener energy sources.”

“New York’s natural gas ban will unnecessarily hurt New York workers by removing our members’ jobs at a time when we are already leading the nation in the expansion of alternative energy for New York residents,” he added.

To view a recording of the entire rally, visit

Photo courtesy Peter Gollon
By Peter Gollon

I commend this newspaper for its thorough and balanced Sept. 14 and Sept. 21 articles on the proposed conversion of the Long Island Power Authority into a fully municipal utility that would directly operate the electrical transmission and distribution system that it has owned for decades.

LIPA, which is the country’s third largest municipal utility, is legally required now to outsource its operation to another entity. Right now that is PSEG Long Island. Before that, it was National Grid.

LIPA’s staff of 60 experienced utility professionals supervises PSEGLI’s performance according to metrics taking 207 pages to outline. Each year, LIPA pays PSEGLI $80 million for just 18 executives to plan and direct the 2,500-line call center and other workers whose pay is provided by LIPA. That’s more than $4 million for each PSEGLI-supplied executive.

There is considerable overlap between the top PSEGLI staff and the LIPA staff that supervises and grades PSEGLI’s performance. Both the Legislative Commission on the Future of the Long Island Power Authority and LIPA agree that if LIPA hired a dozen more staffers, it could run the system itself, dispensing with PSEGLI’s management and saving about $75 million each year.

This savings would be real, even if PSEGLI were doing a good job. But it hasn’t been. Their performance in storm restoration after Tropical Storm Isaias in 2020 was so bad, and their reports on the causes of the failure of the outage management system were so dishonest, that LIPA considered PSEGLI to be in default of their contract.

Beyond PSEGLI’s shortcomings, the problem is the structure of the unique and convoluted “hybrid” system itself. Besides the extra cost, the inefficiency of this two-headed structure is why LIPA is the only large municipal utility in the country to be operated this way.

As a LIPA trustee for five years, I saw the difficulties, delays and expense that this structure results in. For example, it required three months and a resolution voted by the LIPA Board directing PSEGLI to develop and implement an accurate and modern asset management system for the billions of dollars of LIPA-owned assets before PSEGLI would take such action.

The delays and inefficiency of this management structure do not show up as a specific dollar cost in LIPA’s budget, but they are there and impede LIPA’s adaptation to the new reality of stronger storms and a faster transition to a renewable energy system.

LIPA needs the simple, common municipal utility structure recommended by the state’s Legislative Commission. The Board of Trustees should be reorganized so some trustees are appointed by both Suffolk and Nassau County executives, rather than now where all the trustees are appointed by the state’s political leadership in Albany.

Locally appointed trustees should give LIPA needed credibility with its Long Island customer base and might make it more responsive to local concerns. In recent years, there has been significant hostility resulting from inadequate understanding by both PSEGLI and LIPA of the impact of changes in tariffs, and from the location and details of new facilities or even just taller and thicker poles.

Finally, one trustee should be named by the union — IBEW Local 1049 — representing the utility’s workforce to ensure that their interests are represented at the highest level.

The legal structure in which the workforce is actually housed is critical. Their transfer from PSEGLI to LIPA must be done in a way that continues their employment under federal labor jurisdiction and preserves their well-earned pension rights. Any proposal that might put them under weaker state labor jurisdiction and possibly jeopardize their pensions has no chance of passing the Legislature, nor should it.

Long Islanders should support this once-in-a-generation opportunity to fix a broken utility structure.

The writer served on the Long Island Power Authority Board of Trustees from 2016 to 2021.

Public domain photo

The debate over the future of Long Island’s electrical grid picked up last week, Sept. 14, at the Nassau County legislative building, with officials, utility staff and members of the public offering competing visions.

The Legislative Commission on the Future of the Long Island Power Authority is a bipartisan panel of state legislators from Long Island and the Rockaways formed in 2022 to consider the potential municipalization of LIPA after its management agreement with PSEG Long Island expires in December 2025.


Chief among the concerns outlined during the hearing was public accountability by members of the LIPA Board.

Under the existing appointment structure, the New York State governor appoints five of the nine members, with the Legislature selecting the remaining four.

New York State Assemblyman Fred Thiele (D-Sag Harbor) suggested this appointment structure could change. “All of those appointments are made by individuals that don’t live on Long Island,” he said. “There has always been the consideration that there should be more local say about the governance of LIPA.”

But achieving that degree of local oversight remains an open question. Michael Menser, associate professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the CUNY Graduate Center, proposed creating a stakeholder advisory committee to make recommendations to the LIPA Board.

“We think a committee stakeholder board — possibly working with an independent research institute or observatory, supporting a fully public utility — could make this transition happen in a way that is speedy, democratic and beneficial both economically and ecologically,” he said.

Ryan Madden, sustainability organizer of the Long Island Progressive Coalition, suggested that the county and city governments within LIPA’s service area should make appointments to the board.

“In some ways, there is an argument that some state appointments make sense as it’s a state entity,” Madden said. “But there should be more input or appointments from local jurisdictions.”

“There could be a situation where the governor gets appointments, the Senate and Assembly get appointments, the Nassau County executive working with the Legislature gets appointments, and the same with Suffolk,” he added.


Thiele said the commission had explored an elective LIPA Board in its first round of hearings but backtracked on this idea, favoring an appointed board instead.

“Especially when you’re talking about [the] National Labor Relations Act,” an appointed board “would better serve to protect labor,” the assemblyman said.

Madden nonetheless supported greater local oversight over the appointment process.

“Our recommendations are just to ensure that there is robust community participation and more local decision-making in whatever appointment process that we determine,” he said.

Tom Falcone, LIPA’s CEO, had attended the Nassau meeting and pushed back on earlier testimony from PSEGLI vice president of external affairs Christopher Hahn, who suggested that the friction between the two utilities creates checks and balances. [See story, “LIPA and PSEGLI wrestle for control over Long Island’s electrical grid,” Sept. 14, TBR News Media website.]

“There aren’t supposed to be checks and balances in management,” Falcone said. “Checks and balances at the management level means a lack of accountability of the vendor. It means the vendor can check what the board wants,” adding, “I think, fundamentally, the problem is that you have one vendor, and they can’t be fired.”

Other input

Luis Vazquez, president and CEO of the Long Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber does not support the municipalization proposal due to the commission’s perceived lack of public outreach and education.

“Half of the problem is educating our communities and chambers,” he said. “So, if we don’t get the message and we don’t know what we’re voting on, I’d rather just not take a position.”

Guy Jacob, an at-large delegate of the Sierra Club, said his organization’s national, state and Long Island chapters all support municipalization.

“This so-called public-private partnership is unique among municipal electric utilities in the U.S., and the time is now at hand to terminate this decades-long, failed anomaly,” he said. “The moment has come to terminate the tyranny of shareholders over ratepayers.”

Jacob pointed to a perceived lack of alignment between the profit interests of the electric service provider and the LIPA customers, adding that “redundant” management positions within LIPA and PSEGLI add unnecessary costs for utility power.

Conversations over the restructuring of LIPA remain ongoing. To view the commission’s meetings, visit Written testimony can be submitted at

Photo by Andrew Martin from Pixabay

Long Island’s two primary utility companies are in a tug-of-war over the region’s electric future.

A management contract between the New York State-owned Long Island Power Authority and the investor-owned utility company PSEG Long Island expires in December 2025, prompting uncertainty over the future management of the regional grid.

The Legislative Commission on the Future of the Long Island Power Authority is a bipartisan panel of state legislators from Long Island, formed in 2022 to make recommendations to the state Legislature for future reorganization.

Conflict erupted during the commission’s public hearing at the William H. Rogers Legislature Building in Hauppauge Tuesday, Sept. 12, during which LIPA and PSEGLI reps offered disparate visions.

Municipalization proposal

The legislative commission is considering implementing a full-scale municipalization of utility power on Long Island, empowering LIPA to provide electric service independently without contracting with a third-party vendor, such as PSEGLI.

During the hearing, Tom Falcone, LIPA’s CEO, addressed the commission, noting the complications of overlapping responsibilities between the separate management hierarchies of LIPA and PSEGLI.

“There is not one best governance model … but there are governance models that could result in duplicative roles and responsibilities or unnecessary conflict,” he said. “Multiple overlapping bodies with similar responsibilities can frustrate customers with a lack of clarity and accountability, much like our hybrid management structure between LIPA and PSEG.”

Falcone advised that consolidating management positions within LIPA would enable the state to reduce total management personnel by roughly 13 senior positions.

Falcone added that municipalization would deliver greater accountability from the electric service provider, empowering the LIPA Board to replace senior officials who fail to perform.

“The board can fire me,” the LIPA CEO indicated. “I can’t fire PSEG,” adding, “If PSEG is not delivering, we litigate and we hold back money.”

Checks and balances

But PSEGLI refused to go down without a fight, countering Falcone’s assessment of the existing dynamic between the two utilities.

Christopher Hahn, vice president of external affairs at PSEGLI, advocated for the existing public-private partnership between LIPA and PSEGLI.

“There’s real, built-in accountability to the public-private partnership,” he said. “It is something that has been working for Long Islanders and will continue to work for Long Islanders.”

Hahn maintained that the public-private partnership gives Long Island “the best of both worlds,” maximizing the potential for each utility company while creating checks and balances between LIPA and PSEGLI.

“Having a municipally owned grid gives us the benefit of that low [interest] bonding and, of course, access to [Federal Emergency Management Agency] funds in the event that we have storms,” he said. “And then having the private company and being held accountable.”

He added that accountability for PSEGLI is built into its contract structure, which is only 40% guaranteed. He maintained that PSEGLI continues to rank highly in reliability and customer satisfaction.

“Those are things that came here because of the public-private partnership, because of the push-pull between PSEG and LIPA,” he said.

Conversations over the restructuring of LIPA will continue this week as the commission is scheduled to meet again at 10 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 14, at the Nassau County Legislature in Mineola. To livestream the meeting, visit Register on-site to testify. Written testimony can be submitted at Other September meetings are due to be held at The Rockaways, Southampton and Farmingdale State College.

Kornreich clashes with Good Energy reps during Town Board meeting

Brookhaven Town Hall. File photo from the town’s website
By Samantha Rutt

Members of the Manhattan-based energy firm Good Energy LLC, the Town of Brookhaven’s Community Choice Aggregation administrator, were recently met with questions and criticism from within the Town Board.

The CCA program was designed to help Brookhaven consumers save money on energy by pooling the bulk buying power of Brookhaven residents and businesses.

The CCA’s fixed rate, however, is $0.695 per therm, more than double the August rate offered by National Grid, which is $0.339 per therm.

During a TOB meeting Thursday, Aug. 17, Good Energy’s managing partner Javier Barrios and senior business development manager Edward Carey described the program as a “state initiative that allows municipalities to be empowered.” 

The program’s primary aim, Barrios said, is to provide residents with greater control over their energy sources and present a more cost-effective alternative to default utility rates from National Grid, which fluctuate monthly. 

Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich (D-Stony Brook) scrutinized these appeals, suggesting a lack of public outreach regarding the CCA.

“I have never met anybody who understood what it meant that we were starting a CCA,” Kornreich told Barrios.

The town handled preliminary outreach and education efforts before the program’s launch, according to Barrios, who added that there was a mandatory subsidy outreach and education initiative undertaken to ensure a clear understanding of the CCA program.

“I’ll just say that from where I’m sitting, it was not effective at all,” Kornreich responded. “I think that there’s been a lot of confusion.”

After the initial enrollment of all residents who use natual gas, the program makes residents responsible for opting in or out of the program. For Kornreich, residents must understand how the program works compared to the default energy supply.

“I think that to the extent that people understand it, [the residents] understand that, at the moment, they are overpaying for natural gas,” he added.

Barrios said the weather significantly affects the domestic natural gas market. In the temperate climate of the shoulder months, when the demand for natural gas is lower, Brookhaven residents should unenroll from the CCA’s program, paying only for their independent household’s usage at the market rate.

Kornreich also centered around resident complaints regarding issues with the program’s opt-out feature. Complaints were consistent with long delays, confusion with billing and the feature “simply not working,” he stated during the discourse.

“I would just like to urge [Good Energy] here in this public setting to honor those requests as quickly as possible,” Kornreich continued.

Since the rollout of the CCA in May, all Brookhaven residents have been automatically enrolled in this program. It still remains up to their discretion whether to opt in or out. 

“I do support this initiative because I think that having this choice for consumers is going to, at some point, give us the ability to save money,” Kornreich concluded. “But our residents have to be educated, and we’re all trying to figure out how to do a better job.”