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PSEG Long Island

Daniel Eichhorn

Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) announced on Dec. 13 that PSEG Long Island President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) Daniel Eichhorn will retire in 2022. Eichhorn will continue in his current role until a successor is named to ensure a smooth transition and a continued utmost commitment to customer service on Long Island.

Concurrent with Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) board consideration for approval of the proposed revised operations services agreement, Eichhorn has chosen this time to retire, giving a new leader the opportunity to make their mark on the future of the PSEG Long Island organization and its commitment to customers across Long Island and the Rockaways. A search for PSEG Long Island’s next president and COO is now underway.

“During his 32 years of dedicated service, Dan has focused on significant operational improvements and an unwavering commitment to our customers and employees on Long Island and in New Jersey,” PSEG COO Ralph LaRossa said. “Dan’s leadership has helped place the PSEG Long Island workforce in a position to move into its next chapter with the right tools, team and dedication to serving every customer. We thank Dan for his considerable contributions across both Long Island and New Jersey over more than three decades of service.”

Eichhorn was named president and COO of PSEG Long Island in October 2017. Previously, Eichhorn served as PSEG Long Island’s vice president for Customer Service. As vice president, Eichhorn was responsible for customer satisfaction, marketing and marketing strategy, customer contact, meter-tocash functions, and solar and energy efficiency programs. Prior to that role, Eichhorn served as director of Customer Contact and Technology for Public Service Electric and Gas Co. (PSE&G). Eichhorn retires with a broad background in electric and gas operations, customer operations and appliance service.

“As I announce my intent to retire in the coming months, I must reflect on the devotion of PSEG Long Island’s 2,500 employees, their achievements and the strategic improvements we have made since 2014,” Eichhorn said. “Over the past eight years, we have created a legacy of performance for customers across Long Island and the Rockaways, and I am proud of what we have accomplished together. I am confident that, as the company transitions to its next chapter, we are well-positioned for new leadership to build on these accomplishments – putting customers at the heart of everything we do, while further improving system reliability, enhancing customer service and supporting the state’s clean energy goals, and being an engaged and responsive community partner.”

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Photo from Barbara Ransome

Port Jefferson may be cold, but it’s already getting ready for spring. 

“The Port Jeff chamber, with the support of a grant for beautification from PSEG for $2,000, was able to purchase 5,000 Dutch Master daffodil bulbs,” said Barbara Ransome, director of operations of Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce.

The grant she mentioned comes from PSEG Long Island as part of the company’s Main Street Revitalization Program that has been helping small businesses during these tough pandemic times. 

Funds for the Plant Port Yellow program came from a new concept that was introduced by PSEGLI earlier this year. 

Photo from Barbara Ransome

John Keating, manager of economic development with PSEGLI, previously told TBR that the company added a new category to their revitalization program to help beautify local villages and towns. They were awarded up to $5,000 for items like outdoor lighting, seating and heating, but for 2021 the company added an extra $2,000 to spruce things up even more. 

“We added the beautification piece of it,” Keating said. “So, anything else that they might have wanted to do, like landscaping or planters and things like that, they could do a separate application and be eligible for another $2,000 — a total of $7,000.”

Port Jefferson Village was one of the several areas whose chamber took advantage of the opportunity. 

Ransome added that just last weekend, volunteers gathered together to plant those 5,000 bulbs, specifically thanking Rich Degnan and his staff from Central Outdoor Services who helped plant 750 of the bulbs Saturday.

According to the Long Island Association, roughly 90% of the Long Island economy comes from small businesses, so the pandemic caused stress for the smaller shops. Keating said that between 2020-21, PSEGLI has provided about 36 chamber of commerce grants — some $80,000 in total. 

Photo from Barbara Ransome

PSEG Long Island is continuing to help local downtowns — this time in Port Jefferson village. 

John Keating, manager of economic development with PSEGLI, said that the company began its Main Street Revitalization Program about two years ago with the goal to bring business back to local mom and pop shops. 

But because of the COVID-19 crisis last year, PSEGLI had seen an opportunity to help out during the changing times and now, nearly a year and a half later, they’re adding more ways to help small businesses.

“This year, it’s the same concept as far as the grants for the chambers of commerce,” Keating said. “The only real difference this year is that we added a new category for beautification, which has the effect of adding another $2,000 to each chamber.”

Last year, the outdoor commerce grants gave chamber and business improvement districts up to $5,000 to help purchase durable goods that support outdoor commerce.

“Mid-to-last year, it became very clear that outdoor dining and commerce was a real lifeline to small businesses who are struggling because of all the COVID restrictions,” Keating said. “So, we offered it as a way of helping individual businesses, but in a group setting.”

By offering it to the chambers, they could set up a centralized area for dining and shopping.

“It turns out to be very effective and was really appreciated by a lot of the participating chambers,” he said.

PSEGLI decided that for 2021 it would create an extra level to the grants. 

“We added the beautification piece of it,” Keating said. “So, anything else that they might have wanted to do, like landscaping or planters and things like that, they could do a separate application and be eligible for another $2,000 — a total of $7,000.”

Barbara Ransome, director of operations of the Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce, said that Melanie Gonzalez of Simple Good sent in the original request and idea to beautify Chandler Square. Shops like Sweet ’n’ Savory, The Spice & Tea Exchange, The Soap Box, Port Jefferson Ice Cream Café, Hannaford Studios and Simple Good are now surrounded by delicate canopies of hanging lights, while flowers to be planted throughout the square. 

Roughly 90 percent of the Long Island economy comes from small businesses, so the pandemic caused stress for the smaller shops. Keating said that between 2020-21, PSEGLI has provided about 36 chamber of commerce grants — some $80,000 in total. While the beautification grant is relatively new, there are six preapproved, including Port Jeff. 

“It’s just been amazing to us how positive it is when the community can get together in a place that they didn’t have before,” Keating said. “Now, that is a nice place with tables and chairs, patio heaters and some nice lighting. It really has helped bring the community together.”

Keating added that while these grants are just for chambers and BIDs, there are other grants that individual businesses can apply for. Details are available online.

Image from PSEG

With Long Island and the entire New York City metropolitan area expecting high temperatures and humidity for the next few days, PSEG Long Island asks its customers to voluntarily conserve electricity when possible.

In addition to the typical demand challenges faced during high heat, PSEG Long Island is aware of issues affecting some interconnections that provide electricity to the service area and is working with their third party owners. We have set in place proactive measures to address energy demands across Long Island and the Rockaways. PSEG Long Island expects to have sufficient electricity from available sources to meet forecasted customer demand, contingent upon other transmission and generation facilities remaining in service. To ensure the demand does not exceed forecasts, customers in Nassau and Suffolk counties and the Rockaways are asked to use electricity wisely.

As the heat arrives, PSEG Long Island may choose to activate its voluntary Smart Savers Thermostat program to reduce loading on the system and create future savings for customers. Approximately 31,000 customers have voluntarily enrolled in this program.

“With more people working from home, it’s more important than ever that we all do our part to conserve energy and reduce overall peak demand,” said Michael Sullivan, senior director of Transmission and Distribution, PSEG Long Island. “PSEG Long Island has made preparations for this situation and our personnel will work according to plan to provide the electricity we all need. By working together, we can avoid exceeding load forecasts and ensure that everyone’s air conditioning stays on as we weather this heat.”

PSEG Long Island also encourages customers to take these easy and practical energy conservation measures that can reduce peak demand on the system and save them money.

  • Set home thermostats or air conditioner units to 78 degrees.
  • Run major appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers and pool pumps, in the morning or late evening to avoid the peak demand hours of 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Set refrigerators and freezers at most-efficient temperatures.
  • Do not cool an empty house. Set your thermostat higher when you are away, or use a smart thermostat to control the temperature in your home. Customers can receive an incentive on qualifying thermostats for enrolling in PSEG Long Island’s Smart Savers Thermostat program, which can be used to control usage during peak summer days. Visit https://www.psegliny.com/smartsavers for more details.
  • Commercial customers may sign up for the Commercial System Relief program. Visit https://www.psegliny.com/contactus/businessandcommercialsavings/csrp for more details.
  • Close blinds and draperies facing the sun to keep out the sun’s heat.
  • Ceiling fans cool fast and cost less than air conditioning. (In hot weather, set your ceiling fan to spin quickly, counterclockwise to push air downward toward the floor.)
  • Seal holes and cracks around doors and windows with caulk or weather-stripping.
  • Replace old appliances with new energy efficient ENERGY STAR® appliances
  • Replace air filters monthly. Dirty filters make your air conditioner work harder.

Additional energy saving conservation tips can be obtained from PSEG Long Island’s website, www.psegliny.com, or by calling its Energy Infoline at 1-800-692-2626.

Jayleen Martorell and Michael Gallarello from Bretton Woods Elementary School

PSEG Long Island has announced the winners of its first-ever Earth Day Video PSA Contest. Two hundred seven videos were submitted by creative, local schoolchildren, and 10 made the final cut. Dozens of students and teachers who participated in the program watched the announcement live via webinar hosted by the company on April 22.

Over the past two and a half months, nearly 4,500 students in grades 4-8 engaged in the I AM EM-Powered Program and Student Challenge. Created by educational consultants, D. Barrett Associates, the STEM-related coursework provided lessons on energy conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy in alignment with current educational standards on these topics. The curriculum was also tailored for classroom, virtual learning and hybrid scenarios. Teachers could select and submit their favorite three videos to be judged by a strict grading rubric.

“It was so exciting to see these award-winning videos and to announce the 10 winners today,” said Suzanne Brienza, PSEG Long Island’s director of Customer Experience and Utility Marketing, who co-hosted the event. “The students’ messages of protecting our oceans, conserving electricity and using energy efficient light bulbs are lessons for all of us.”

Michael Voltz, PSEG Long Island’s director of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, also co-hosted the event. “It’s great to see how these young environmental advocates are embracing these important issues and adding to the discussion about what we can do to protect and nurture our planet,” he said. “We are very pleased with the positive feedback from students and teachers about this new I AM EM-Powered Program and Student Challenge for Earth Day. Congratulations to all of the students who participated, and thank you to all the teachers who implemented the coursework.”

Sponsored by PSEG Long Island, the I AM EM-Powered Program and Student Challenge was provided free to students in the company’s service area – Nassau and Suffolk counties and the Rockaways.

 Here is a complete list of the winners.

Student Winners Name of

PSA video

Grade Teacher(s) School District
Pavly Zaky Lilly Knows LEDs 6th Karen Alonge East Meadow Middle School East Meadow
Jacob Park

Dylan Couture

Josh Bonfanti

Conserving Energy 7th Ellen McGlade-McCulloh East Meadow Middle School East Meadow
Juliette Markesano 5 Easy Ways to Save Money 6th Karen Alonge East Meadow Middle School East Meadow
Michael Gallarello Jayleen Martorell Put Your Waste in its Rightful Place 5th Veronica Weeks
Tara Dungate
Bretton Woods Elementary School Hauppauge
Valerie Tuosto

Zia Baluyot

Cleaner Energy is Your Superpower 8th Matthew Schneck Lynbrook South Middle School Lynbrook
Nicole Marino Clara Levy Brooke Marek  Leah Anzalone Energy Conservation 7th

 

Vince Interrante Mineola Middle School Mineola
James Catania

Jose Velasquez

Save Water 8th Lisa McDougal Oyster Bay High School Oyster Bay-East Norwich
Skyler Placella Special Energy Agent 5th Diana Hauser James H. Vernon School, Oyster Bay Oyster Bay-East Norwich
Abigail Rudnet How to Conserve Energy 5th Frank Sommo James H. Vernon School, Oyster Bay Oyster Bay-East Norwich
Lena Okurowski

Sophia Lastorino

Layla Kelly

Save the Oceans 5th Justin DeMaio Bayview Elementary School West Islip

The 10 award-winning videos are available for viewing at youtube.com/psegli. Click the playlist titled “I Am EM-powered PSA contest winners 2021.”

PSEG Long Island provides educational resources through its robust Community Partnership Program, which includes several educational programs for children of all ages at schools, after-school and camp programs. These shows and programs on energy conservation, electric safety and preparing for an emergency have educated tens of thousands of children. This new I Am EM-Powered coursework and contest has been receiving high praise since it was added to the educational programming lineup.

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Pixabay photo

April is National Safe Digging Month, and PSEG Long Island reminds customers, contractors and excavators to call before digging to avoid hitting underground pipelines, conduits, wires and cables. 811 is the designated national phone number to have underground lines located and marked before projects begin around the home or business.

The safety of the community is a top priority for PSEG Long Island – especially when it comes to safe, reliable power. Social distancing continues to be an important tactic in fighting COVID-19, so PSEG Long Island reminds the public that mark-out work is performed entirely outdoors and there is no need for any interaction between the technician and the person who called to request the mark out.

“Spring is the time of year when many of us begin making improvements to our homes and businesses. Calling 811 ahead of time helps to protect underground lines and the safety of anyone digging on their properties,” said John O’Connell, PSEG Long Island vice president of Transmission and Distribution Operations. “People are getting the message. Last year there were more than 227,000 mark-out requests, and so far this year, there have been more than 40,000 requests to 811.”

A free call to 811 automatically connects the caller to the local New York one-call center, which collects information about digging projects. The one-call center then provides the information to the utility companies, which send representatives to mark the locations of nearby underground lines with flags, paint or both. Once lines have been properly marked and confirmation from all of the utility owners is received, projects may proceed as long as caution is used around the marked areas.

Every digging project, even a small project like planting a tree or building a deck, requires a call to 811. It’s the law. The call must be made whether the job is being performed by a professional or a do-it-yourselfer. Striking a single line can cause serious injury and outages, and result in repair costs and fines.

Here’s important information to consider:

  • An estimated 11 million people in the United States dug last year without first having underground utility lines marked, creating a dangerous situation. Calling 811 before digging reduces the chances of damaging an underground line to less than 1%.
  • Underground gas and electric lines are everywhere, even on private properties. These facilities can be easily damaged if dug into, with the potential to cause serious injuries. Digging into these lines can also disrupt vital utility services, resulting in costly delays, expensive repairs and environmental or property damage.
  • Whether planning a major home improvement project or installing something as simple as a fence or mailbox post, a call must be placed beforehand to determine where it’s safe to dig.
  • Call 811 at least two business days before the commencement of each job to have underground pipes, wires and equipment located. Each facility owner must respond by providing the excavator with a positive confirmation indicating that marks are in place where utility lines are buried or that there are no existing facilities in the area of the proposed work. This service is free of charge.
  • Be sure to wait until all of the utilities have responded. Don’t dig until lines have been marked or you have received confirmation that the area is clear of facilities.
  • Property owners must maintain and respect the marks. Always hand dig within 2 feet of marked lines to find the existing facilities before using mechanized equipment.
  • If gas lines are damaged or there is a gas smell when excavating, call 911 immediately from a safe area.

Calling before you dig is more than a good idea − it’s the law. Additional information, including a booklet on safe excavating practices and the protection of underground facilities, can be found on the PSEG Long Island website.

Allison Sencadas. Photo from PSEG Long Island

PSEG Long Island recognized Allison Sencadas of Selden, and her colleagues, for Surveyors Week on March 21 through March 28 and Women’s History Month.

PSEG Long Island’s surveyors are the first to arrive on a construction site, mapping out and measuring the land, and the last to leave the jobsite, ensuring that all work is performed to accurately meet these measurements. 

Surveyors touch every department within the company, including underground and overhead lines, substation design, construction and maintenance, and legal. Precise measurements help to keep workers and members of the public safe, and prevent damage to infrastructure, which saves money for the company and its customers.

“As a survey computer drafting specialist, it is my job to interpret, relate and compute information provided by the field surveyor in order to generate a survey map,” Sencadas said. “The production of a finished survey map provides the dimensions and angles of a particular parcel of land, the exact location of boundary lines, as well as the location of existing facilities in the area.”

She added that these maps collectively play a role in the planning and development of new facilities as well as improvements to existing PSEG Long Island facilities.

 National Surveyors Week and Global Surveyors Day (March 23) were founded by the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS). 

For more PSEG Long Island employee stories, follow #PSEGLIProud on social media.

Photo and caption courtesy of PSEG Long Island.

Snow blanketed the ground as a winter storm hit the North Shore Dec. 16 into 17. Photo by Kyle Barr

*Update: This version of the story includes the number of homes who are still without power as of 4 p.m.

The Nor’easter that hit the east coast cut out power to thousands of homes on Long Island. By 4 p.m. on Thursday, the number of homes without power declined to 348. Earlier in the day, 3,444 homes were without electricity. PSEG Long Island said it had restored power to more than 98% of the homes affected by the storm.

PSEG LI expected to restore power to all homes by the end of the day.

“We expect to restore power to all remaining customers today,” PSEG LI said in a statement.

PSEG added personnel, including tree and line crews, to repair damage and restore outages. The utility had more than 1,300 line workers, tree trimmers, surveyors and other personnel on site to restore power.

“This storm brought down trees and wires throughout our service area,” John O’Connell, Vice President, Transmission & Distribution, PSEG Long Island, said in a statement. “We know that being without power for any length of time is a hardship and we thank our customers for their patience as we work through the damage and difficult conditions to restore their power [as] safely and quickly as possible.”

In an update on the storm, County Executive Steve Bellone (D) described the number of power outages as “good news,” as outages were a “big concern here because of the nature of the storm.” Bellone spoke with reporters at the Department of Public Works in Commack.

“We did not see a significant number of power outages in this storm,” Bellone added.

Bellone suggested that outages may have been lower because some of the limbs and trees that could have come down had already fallen or been removed.

Suffolk County Police Department Chief Stuart Cameron, meanwhile, thanked the Department of Public Works and the police department for working through the night.

As of 8 a.m., Chief Cameron said the county had 171 accidents since 4 p.m. the night before. Police were working on two active crashes, which is lower than they would normally have.

Chief Cameron also wanted to thank many residents of Suffolk County for heeding the advisory and staying off the roads.

Some of the ramps for the Long Island Expressway still had plenty of snow and slush on them. Chief Cameron advised drivers to consider taking the next ramp, if their exit appeared challenging from the conditions.

Chief Cameron also urged residents to give themselves plenty of time to clear their car of snow and ice before they need to leave their homes.

“My car was heavily iced,” Chief Cameron said. “It took me a long time to clean” it off.

Looking at the forecast for Friday, Bellone said the colder temperatures could create conditions for black ice. He urged people to be “careful throughout [Thursday] and into tomorrow as well.”

A look at Port Jefferson Harbor from the Village Center during Winter Storm Grayson as blizzard-force winds and more than a foot of snow pound the coast in January, 2018. File photo

As the nor’easter bears down on the mid-Atlantic states, the forecast for Long Island continues to include considerable snow, although the forecast varies by area.

The estimated snowfall ranges from 6 inches to 13 inches.

“We know the storm will be hitting us harder on the west end of Suffolk County, rather than the east end, where we’ll see lower amounts,” County Executive Steve Bellone (D) said during a weather update at the Commack Department of Public Works.

The storm will also hit harder in the north, rather than the south shore.

“This is going to be a heavy, wet snow, which is, of course, something that creates its own set of challenges,” Bellone said.

Bellone urged residents to return to their homes as early as possible tonight. The storm is expected to increase in intensity this evening through the overnight hours. During that time, snow could accumulate at the rate of one to two inches per hour.

“You should be off the roads by the latest, at 9 p.m. tonight.

While the east end will get lower snow totals, the area will have higher winds, with gusts of up to 57 miles per hour.

The county is opening its emergency operations center today and expects to have it open through tomorrow at 4 p.m..

The Department of Public Works has 200 vehicles ready, with about 19 tons of salt at their disposal to help clear the snow and ice from the roads.

Bellone urged residents to try to work from home on Thursday, if they can.

“Tomorrow is a day, if you can, to stay home,” Bellone urged.

Suffolk County Police Department Chief Stuart Cameron said this type of heavy snow can clog the chute of a snow blower.

“You should never, ever stick your hand” in the chute, Cameron cautioned, even if the device is turned off, because a blade can rotate and severely injure someone’s hand.

Cameron also advised against bringing a barbecue or generator inside the house because they release carbon monoxide, which can be dangerous to homeowners.

At this point, Bellone said there were no changes to the bus schedule. He urged residents to check for any modifications, particularly tomorrow after the snowstorm passes.

To report and receive status updates on an outage Text OUT to PSEGLI (773454) or to report an outage online visit www.psegliny.com

To register, have your account number available and text REG to PSEGLI (773454)

Downed wires should always be considered “live.” Do not approach or drive over a downed line and do not touch anything contacting the wire. To report a downed wire, call PSEG Long Island’s 24-hour Electric Service number: 1-800-490-0075

PSEG trucks remove a downed tree in Mount Sinai Aug. 7. For several days, cars had to swerve around the tree that split the intersection of North Country Road and Crystal Brook Hollow Road. Photo by Kyle Barr

LIPA filed a $70 million lawsuit against PSEG-Long Island in State Supreme Court in Mineola against the New Jersey-based power company for breach of contract in response to Tropical Storm Isaias, which hit Aug. 4 and knocked out power for some Long Islanders for over eight days.

The Department of Public Service recommended a lawsuit to the LIPA Board of Trustees.

“Utility companies are beholden to ratepayers, and when that service is inadequate — or as in this case, a complete failure — those utilities need to be held accountable,” Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) said in a statement. PSEG “failed to hold up their end. It’s inexcusable, and we’re going to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.”

The complaint, filed by attorneys at the law firm Rivkin Radler, alleges breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing, based on PSEG’s “failure to prepare for and manage restoration effort during and following Tropical Storm Isaias. LIPA also brings this action for specific performance to compel PSEG LI to comply with its obligations” under the operations service agreement.

The suit also alleges “corporate mismanagement, misfeasance, incompetence, and indifference, rising well beyond the level of simple negligence.”

Immediate Fix Demanded
State Sen. James Gaughran (D-Northport), an outspoken critic of LIPA and PSEG LI’s response to the storm, welcomed the legal action.

“It’s about time LIPA start acting to protect the best interests of Long Island ratepayers,” Gaughran said in a statement. Gaughran urged LIPA to make sure the $70 million is paid by PSEG shareholders and not ratepayers.

“An independent receiver should be appointed to refund this $70 million to hardworking Long Islanders and not dumped into the blackhole of LIPA’s budget,” Gaughran added.

In a statement, LIPA CEO Tom Falcone said PSEG LI must “immediately fix these failed information technology systems and abide by its contract” as LIPA continues to review its legal, contractual and termination options.

“PSEG Long Island has collected nearly half a billion dollars from Long Island customers over the past seven years while failing to meet its basic obligations,” Falcone added.

John Rhodes, Special Counsel for statewide ratepayer protection for the New York State Department of Public Service, asked if LIPA should “find a new service provider?”

In a statement, PSEG Long Island said it was “hard at work addressing recommendations in LIPA’s 30- and 90-day reports. We believe that the current public-private partnership is the best option for Long Island customers and we have remained committed to being the service provider of choice for LIPA.”

PSEG LI is “aware that this lawsuit has been filed and we are reviewing it.”

Lawsuit Claims

In the lawsuit, LIPA describes PSEG LI as demonstrating willful, bad faith and grossly negligent failures.

One of a litany of complaints during and after the storm was the inability for customers to connect with PSEG and to receive a reliable estimate of the time to restore power.

Ratepayers were “left without critical information as adequate telephone lines were overwhelmed with calls and an Outage Management System, selected by PSEG LI as able to withstand a major storm and paid for by LIPA, failed.”

About a million customer calls and 300,000 text messages did not reach PSEG LI, according to the suit.

Calls to outage and billing lines “became overloaded and failed,” the suit alleges, with 75% of customer calls to PSEG LI’s Outage Line not going through on the first day of the storm.

PSEG LI “did not properly monitor whether the calls on the Outage Line were connecting. Calls were dropped without PSEG LI’s knowledge,” according to the suit.

LIPA asserted that PSEG should have known about the inadequacy of the voice telephony system.

PSEG did not perform sufficient tests to determine whether the system would function during a major storm event before or in the 100 days after Isaias, the suit further claimed.

The problems with the telecommunications system predated the storm, as the suit indicated that the “OMS did not crash due to Isaias. It was already failing.”

PSEG LI “must develop a comprehensive integrated set of business continuity plans for every critical IT and communication system on Long Island, plus all repair and recovery activities,” according to the suit.