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LIPA's 2024 budget contains an average 11.6% monthly bill hike next year.

By Mark Harrington...newsday Updated December 13, 2023 8:17 pm


The LIPA board of trustees voted Wednesday to approve the utility's 2024 budget, which includes an average monthly bill hike of almost $20 — an 11.6% increase — for customers next year.

The Long Island Power Authority’s 2024 operating budget of $4.19 billion includes a $32 million increase for new initiatives, including heightened cybersecurity, a $27 million inflation increase, $14 million in higher retirement benefits, $13 million more for wages, and $7.7 million more for debt service.

Typical customer bills in 2024 will be $186.71 a month, a jump of $19.43 from the average $167.28 bill in 2023, LIPA said. Most of the increase is tied to higher anticipated costs for power and fuel in 2024, and the loss of certain cost offsets in 2023 that won’t be around to moderate bills this year. A new offshore wind farm to feed the South Fork will add around $1.35 to average monthly bills, LIPA said. The delivery portion of bills remains under the 2.5% threshold that would otherwise have triggered a full rate review by the state Department of Public Service, LIPA said. A full DPS review of LIPA rates hasn’t taken place since 2015. PSEG Long Island, which manages the LIPA electric grid under a $80 million annual contract, will see its contract expire at the end of 2025. 


WHAT TO KNOW

  • The LIPA board of trustees voted Wednesday to approve the utility's 2024 budget, which includes an average $20 monthly bill hike — an 11.6% increase — for average customers next year.

  • Typical customer bills in 2024 will be $186.71 a month, a jump of $19.43 from the average $167.28 bill in 2023, LIPA said.

  • Most of the increase is tied to higher anticipated costs for power and fuel in 2024, and the loss of cost offsets in 2023 that won’t be around to moderate bills this year. 




In other news, the board celebrated the fact that Long Island began receiving its first wind power from an array 35 miles east of Montauk, although an official noted the turbines had an unspecified issue that since has taken three turbines offline.


They are expected back online Thursday, said Paul Napoli, PSEG Long Island's vice president of power markets, and the full 12-array, 130-megawatt project should be producing power by mid- to late February. Developer South Fork Wind didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.   


Trustees also voted to approve the appointment of a new chief financial officer, Dennis Anosike, formerly of the Chicago Transit Authority and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. The position had been filled on an interim basis by LIPA chief executive Tom Falcone, who previously was CFO. LIPA didn't immediately release Anosike's pay level.


LIPA’s board has seen a shift from appointees of former Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, most of whose terms had expired, to the appointees of Gov. Kathy Hochul. In addition to the previously reported appointments of LIPA chairwoman Tracey A. Edwards, previously a Public Service Commission member and now senior vice president for Sands New York, and trustees Claudia Lovas, an attorney, and David Manning of Brookhaven National Laboratory, Hochul also recently named Vanessa Baird-Streeter, a Suffolk County deputy county executive, to the board. Baird-Streeter previously had served as LIPA’s executive director of communications.


LIPA's nine-member board is awaiting one legislative appointment after Nancy Goroff left earlier this year. At present, six of eight trustees are women, the first women-majority board in LIPA's history. Most are also women of color. 


Among board items on the agenda for Wednesday was the introduction of new time-of-use rates, which offer customers discounts for shifting usage away from the peak period of 3. to 7 p.m. daily. LIPA in November said certain delays in PSEG Long Island’s implementation of computer upgrades for the new rates would delay full-scale rollout to 2025.


The new rate plan became available on Nov. 16, although the ability to enroll via the self-service website was delayed by a month to this week.


Customers signing up for service will be given the new rate starting in January, PSEG said, and the first group of existing customers to be migrated to the new rate will take place in June rather than February, and be increased to an initial 31,000 customers from a prior planned figure of 20,000. LIPA also will slightly delay a general education phase of the program to the final three months of 2024 to move it closer to the “mass migration” of customers to time-of-use rates in 2025.

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