Written by Chris Boyle Friday, 04 July 2014 00:00
When the Pubic Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) took over Long Island power operations in January of 2014 after what many perceived as one folly after another on the part of the Long Island Power
Authority (LIPA)—culminating, of course, with their chastised performance during Superstorm Sandy in 2012—Long Islanders held their collective breath, hoping that the new guard would be an improvement over the old.
However, even the best-run operations need time to dig in their feet and push, and while PSEG does their best to shoulder the great task of providing power to 1.1 million customers in Nassau, Suffolk and
Queens, it stands to reason that New York State would be keeping a watchful eye over them.
At the June meeting of the Levittown Community Council, Co-President Tom Kohlman welcomed consumer program specialist Anna Senatore with the state Department of Public Service—the agency tasked with providing oversight to PSEG’s operations—who told local residents that her department’s priority is make sure that their customers are treated right; something many didn’t feel under LIPA’s regime.
According to Senatore, the LIPA Reform Act, which was signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2013, establishes a Long Island branch of the public service department, which is designed to assist and protect utility customers while providing oversight and review of utilities, including electric, natural gas, stream, water, and telecommunications.
Senatore said that if a customer has issues with their electrical service, she urged them to first contact PSEG and attempt to work it out; however, if that avenue is not successful, she said that the customer can contact the public service department and lodge a complaint. From there, the department will look into the matter and take appropriate action where needed.
One area that former LIPA customers are likely still smarting over is their reaction—or rather, the perceived lack thereof—to the vast amount of power outages wrought by Superstorm Sandy. Under her agency’s watch, Senatore said that new programs are being put into place to improve that misconception.
“PSEG will be installing a new outage management system that will provide a more accurate time of restoration, and a new interactive voice response system to reduce the wait time on the phone as well,” she said. “We will also review proposed capital expenditure plans as well as proposed rate hikes, and if a rate hike is proposed, PSEG must hold a public meeting to get feedback on it.”
The department will also perform annual reviews to offer suggestions for PSEG infrastructural improvements to ensure reliability and meet new demands.
“These reviews will help us to identify whether PSEG’s performance entitles them to certain performance financial incentives, or if improvements are needed,” Senatore continued.
Overall, Senatore said that the relationship between the Department of Public Service and PSEG will be fine-tuned to bring their customers the very best service possible.
“Our goal is to ensure that Long Island receives the same level of oversight as the rest of New York State,” she said. “We’re also working on developing more educational material on a variety of utility topics.”
Friday, 19 September 2014 08:29
A group of Levittown parents are voicing their concerns with letting their children walk to school, since it would mean they would continue to cross Hempstead Turnpike.
“My kid has to cross [Hempstead Tpke.] daily without a crossing guard,” said Division Avenue parent Wendy Lantigua.
For Lantigua and others, the dangers of Hempstead Turnpike became all to real after 13-year-old Brianna Soplin was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver, last June. Not to mention the fact that another 14-year-old Levittown student suffered multiple injuries after being struck in hit-and-run, last February.
Saturday, 20 September 2014 00:00
On Sept. 14, Hempstead town officials joined family and friends of fallen New York City paramedic Rudy Havelka, to unveil the re-dedication of Birch Lane in Levittown.
While surviving the World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Havelka wou ld later die of an illness related to his service at Ground Zero.
Friday, 19 September 2014 08:34
The annual One Love Long Island (OLLI) Yoga Festival takes place at the Sands Point Preserve on Sunday, Sept. 21 from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. All profits will be donated to organizations that support survivors of human trafficking, locally and globally.
The festival will unite 16 Long Island yoga studio communities in a round robin of the traditional yogic practice of 108 Sun Salutations from 9:30 a.m. to noon, whose offerings will look to create long-term and sustainable solutions to eradicate the human trafficking epidemic by raising funds and awareness for the cause.
Friday, 19 September 2014 08:33
As a fitness coach and a mother, Melissa Monteforte of Locust Valley knows how important it is to stay healthy, and how difficult it can be for women to make themselves, and their health, a priority. Wanting to help women take charge and feel more in control, she organized the Fit & Healthy Mamas Annual 5K run, now in its third year, which took place on Saturday, Sept. 13 at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow.
“I felt like running was the best outlet when I became a mother; it’s such a great way to get fit and feel healthy and I wanted to share that with other moms,” says Monteforte, 31. “I wanted women to feel celebrated, no matter their fitness level, and to put their health first.”