Long Island Power Authority

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Long Island Power Authority
TypeGovernment-owned corporation
IndustryEnergy industry
Area served
Nassau County, Long Island, NY
Suffolk County Long Island, NY
Rockaway, Queens, NY
Key people
Tom Falcone, CEO
Mark Fischl, Acting Chairman Board of Trustees
Revenue$3.6 billion
OwnerState of New York (day-to-day operations contracted to PSEG Long Island)
Websitelipower.org (Trustees)
psegliny.com (Customers)

Long Island Power Authority (LIPA, "lie-pah") is a municipal subdivision[1] of the State of New York that owns the electric transmission and electric distribution system serving all of Long Island and a portion of New York City known as the Rockaways. LIPA was originally created under the Long Island Power Act of 1985 to acquire the Long Island Lighting Company (LILCO)'s electric and natural gas infrastructure after the cancellation of the Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant. LIPA acquired LILCO's transmission system in May 1998,[citation needed] while the remainder of LILCO's natural gas-related infrastructure merged with Brooklyn Union Gas to form KeySpan Energy.

Before 2014, LIPA's electric and natural gas infrastructure was run under its own name, though KeySpan operated its electric and natural gas infrastructure under a prior management contract with LIPA until 2007. KeySpan merged with National Grid USA in 2007, and National Grid began operating the electric infrastructure portion of LIPA business until 2013.

Since January 1, 2014, LIPA has contracted with New Jersey-based Public Service Enterprise Group to operate LIPA's electric infrastructure on LIPA's behalf for a period of 12 years.[2] National Grid handed control of the electric infrastructure portion of LIPA business to PSEG at the close of business on December 31, 2013. KeySpan still operates the natural gas infrastructure on Long Island.

LIPA's Long Island electric system provides service to over 1.1 million customers in Nassau and Suffolk counties and the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens. LIPA does not own or operate any generation plants or retail natural gas assets on Long Island, although many generation plants are under contract to LIPA to meet its power supply needs. LIPA is listed as the "Owner, Operator and/or Billing Organization" for 27 electric power generation facilities located on Long Island in the 2018 NYISO Gold Book, for a total of about 5,048 megawatts (MW) of nameplate capacity.[3]


LIPA's policy is guided by a 9-member board of trustees. The LIPA management team is headed by Tom Falcone who was appointed CEO in March 2016. Ralph V. Suozzi is the chairman of LIPA's Board of Trustees, appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo. In 2017, LIPA had operating expenses of $3.214 billion, an outstanding debt of $3.574 billion, and a level of staffing of 54 people.[4] Although Public Service Law Section 3-b grants the New York State Public Service Commission the ability to review and make recommendations in regards to LIPA's electric retail rates and spending, the NYSPSC does not have the power to set those rates or expenditure levels. It can, however, inspect LIPA's facilities, books, and records.[5] The New York State Public Service Commission runs its own field office on Long Island to enforce this recommendation and inspection capability.

On January 24, 2007, then-governor Eliot Spitzer announced that Kevin Law would replace Richard Kessel as chairman of LIPA until the fall, when a new chairman would be named and Law would become chief executive officer of LIPA.[6] On October 8, 2007, Law took over as president and CEO. Kevin Law stepped down on September 1, 2010 in order to become the president of the Long Island Association.


LIPA owns electric transmission and distribution lines with the following voltages:

  • Transmission: 345-kilovolts (kV) and 138-kV
  • Distribution: 69-kV, 33-kV, 23-kV, 13.2-kV and 4.16-kV

Power vendors[edit]

LIPA does not own or operate any generation plants or retail natural gas assets on Long Island, although many generation plants are under contract to LIPA to meet its power supply needs.[citation needed] The following table lists generating resources in NYISO Region K, corresponding to Long Island, with nonzero net energy generated in 2020:[7]

Operator Facility Location Nameplate rating (MW) Net energy in 2020 (GWh) Add'l refs
National Grid Northport Power Station Fort Salonga 3945.4 5099.1 [8]
E. F. Barrett Power Station Barnum Island
Port Jefferson Power Station Port Jefferson
Other facilities (gas turbine, jet engine, and internal combustion units) Glenwood Landing, Holtsville, Shoreham, East Hampton North, Southold, West Babylon, Southampton
Caithness Energy Caithness Long Island Energy Center Yaphank 375.0 2171.3 [9]
Covanta Four waste-to-energy plants Uniondale, East Northport, Wyandanch, Ronkonkoma 136.1 958.3 [10]
New York Power Authority Richard M. Flynn Power Plant Holtsville 223.8 645.9
Gas turbine unit Brentwood
Calpine Energy Services Bethpage Energy Center Bethpage 286.6 539.8 [11]
Gas turbine unit Stony Brook
J-Power Five gas turbine and one combined cycle units Brentwood, Shoreham, Babylon, Freeport 342 306.7 [12][13]
Nassau Energy Corporation Combined cycle unit Uniondale 55.0 160.1
MPH Rockaway Peakers Two jet engine units Far Rockaway, Jamaica Bay 121 108.6 [14]
Hawkeye Energy Jet engine unit Greenport 54.0 51.8 [15]
BP Solar Long Island Solar Farm Brookhaven National Laboratory (Upton) 31.5 48.5 [16]
Village of Freeport Two gas turbine units Freeport 76.8 10.2 [17]
Village of Rockville Centre Charles P. Keller facility (internal combustion units) Rockville Centre 31.4 0.9 [18]

Percentage of local energy generated in 2020[7]

  Covanta Hempstead (5.876%)
  Other (13.691%)

For comparison, Long Island had a peak electric demand of 4,972 MW and New York State had a peak demand of 29,699 MW in 2017.[19]

Most of Long Island's largest power plants are operated by National Grid, which owns three major steam turbine facilities originally constructed by the Long Island Lighting Company (LILCO) in the mid-20th century. In 1998, as part of a state-brokered deal, LILCO's power generation facilities were absorbed into KeySpan Energy, with LIPA taking over transmission and delivery functions.[20][21] KeySpan was acquired by National Grid in 2007.[22]

Most of the other larger or highly utilized plants are combined cycle power plants constructed by other entities between 1989 and 2009.[7] As of 2021, the South Fork Wind Farm project is under construction, and the Empire Wind and Sunrise Wind projects are in planning, all of which are planned to connet to the Long Island power grid.[23]

In addition to locally generated power, LIPA as of 2021 receives about 40% of its power from outside Long Island via the Cross Sound Cable, Neptune Cable, Y-49 Cable, Y-50 Cable, and Northport–Norwalk Harbor Cable.[24]

Utility Debt Securitization Authority[edit]

The Utility Debt Securitization Authority is a separate New York State public-benefit corporation run by a governor-appointed board of trustees that is responsible for LIPA's financial reporting.[25][26] In 2017, it had operating expenses of $122.2 million, an outstanding debt of $4.262 billion, and a level of staffing of 3 people.[27]


Hurricane Sandy[edit]

On December 15, 2011, LIPA selected Public Service Enterprise Group of New Jersey, the largest electric utility of that state, to take over management and operation of the electric grid from National Grid, starting in January 2014.[citation needed]

In 2012 and 2013, LIPA and National Grid caught much media criticism in their response to Hurricane Sandy.[28] As a result, key people at LIPA resigned including Michael Hervey, COO of LIPA, who resigned on November 13, 2012 [29] and, though not officially confirmed as a response to Sandy, Bruce Germano (VP of Customer Service) and X. Cristofer Damianos (member of the board of trustees) who resigned on November 27, 2012, and LIPA chairman Howard Steinberg who resigned on November 30, 2012.[30][31]

On January 9, 2013, Governor Cuomo called for the transfer of operations of LIPA in his State of the State speech. Even though the governor appoints five of the nine trustees to serve on the LIPA Board, he cited LIPA's inability to quickly recover from Hurricane Sandy among other incidents.[citation needed] In May, he announced a plan to give PSEG day-to-day operations of LIPA's electric grid under a management contract.[32] The Long Island Power Authority is the owner of the system and holder of its debt. On July 29, 2013 the state legislature passed a law implementing Governor Cuomo's plan. On January 1, 2014 PSEG rebranded the LIPA system "PSEG Long Island", effectively removing the LIPA name from the public eye.

2013 LIPA Reform Act[edit]

The 2013 LIPA Reform Act has been criticized by the New York State Comptroller for having contributed to a more expensive and less transparent retail electric service provider in LIPA. The comptroller noted that LIPA's debts have risen since its passage and in the case of transparency, noted that PSEG-LI requested three-quarters of rate case plan documents to be kept confidential, even with the New York State Public Service Commission's enhanced review power. The report from the comptroller's office also noted that the new New York State Public Service Commission's Long Island office is costing Long Island rate payers $8 million a year.[33] A bill was introduced in 2016 that would enhance rate setting abilities by the New York State Public Service Commission. It would have also lifted a provision from state law that disallows LIPA from buying cheap hydroelectric energy directly from the New York Power Authority - see the Green Island Power Authority for comparison. A news article stated that the Governor's office was reviewing the bill.[34]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Navigant Consulting, Inc. "Long Island Power Authority Biennial Report", August 31, 2010.
  2. ^ "PSEG LI Pres and COO page". Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  3. ^ "NYISO 2018 Gold Book" (PDF). April 2018. pp. 55–57. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  4. ^ "NYSABO 2018 Report" (PDF). pp. 16, 29, 44. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  5. ^ "PSL Section 3-b". Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  6. ^ Rather, John. "New Governor, New Energy Czar", The New York Times, January 28, 2007. Accessed September 24, 2008.
  7. ^ a b c "Gold Book: 2021 Load & Capacity Data". New York Independent System Operator. 2021-04-01. pp. 77–99. Retrieved 2022-03-22.
  8. ^ Rodriguez, Raul R. (2015-06-26). "Survey of National Grid Generation Formerly Owned By LILCO" (PDF). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. pp. 10, 13–14. Retrieved 2021-05-21.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ "Project Facts". Caithness Long Island. Retrieved 2022-03-22.
  10. ^ "Facilities". Covanta. Retrieved 2022-03-22.
  11. ^ "Bethpage Power Plant". Calpine. Retrieved 2022-03-23.
  12. ^ "Projects". J-Power USA. Retrieved 2022-03-23.
  13. ^ "Long Island Fossil Peaker Replacement Study" (PDF). Strategen Consulting. pp. 5–6. Retrieved 2022-03-22.
  14. ^ "Power Plant Operations & Management Services". IHI Power Services Corp. Retrieved 2022-03-23.
  15. ^ "Hawkeye Energy Greenport". Haugland Group. 2016-12-06. Retrieved 2022-03-23.
  16. ^ "Long Island Solar Farm". Brookhaven National Laboratory. Retrieved 2022-03-23.
  17. ^ "A Brief History". Freeport Electric. Retrieved 2022-03-23.
  18. ^ "Electric Department". Rockville Centre, New York. Retrieved 2022-03-23.
  19. ^ "NYISO 2018 Gold Book" (PDF). April 2018. pp. 14, 55–57. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  20. ^ Lambert, Bruce (28 May 1998). "The End of Lilco, as Long Island Has Come to Know It". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 December 2014.
  21. ^ Rather, John (9 October 2005). "Power Couple". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 December 2014.
  22. ^ Rather, John (1 April 2007). "LIPA, National Grid and KeySpan Reach Deal". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 December 2014.
  23. ^ "New York Bight Task Force Wind Developer Project Summaries" (PDF). U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. 2021-04-14. Retrieved 2022-03-22.
  24. ^ Harrington, Mark (2021-04-12). "NYPA cable between LI, Westchester has been 'unreliable' for months, LIPA chief says". Newsday. Retrieved 2022-03-23.
  25. ^ "NYS Authorities Budget Office public benefit corporations list". November 4, 2018.
  26. ^ "LIPA webpage describing the UDSA roles and organization". November 4, 2018.
  27. ^ "NYSABO 2018 Report" (PDF). pp. 16, 29, 44. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  28. ^ "Frustrated Long Island residents enter day 12 of no power". Fox News. November 10, 2012.
  29. ^ "Michael Hervey, COO of LIPA, Resigns After Criticism For Slow Hurricane Sandy Response". Huffington Post. November 13, 2012.
  30. ^ "Top LIPA exec, trustee announce resignations". Newsday. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
  31. ^ "LIPA chairman Howard Steinberg resigns". Newsday. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
  32. ^ "PSE&G parent company to take over Long Island Power Authority". The Star-Ledger. 14 May 2013. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  33. ^ MARK HARRINGTON (July 23, 2015). "LIPA Reform Act hurting customers, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says". Newsday. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  34. ^ Mark Harrington (May 16, 2016). "Albany legislation seeks to reform the 2013 LIPA Reform Act". Newsday. Retrieved November 9, 2018.