As announced last March, the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) said that starting in July customers will begin receiving billing statements that for the first time will show delivery and power supply charges as separate line items. Previously, these charges were combined into one line item called Electric Delivery and Supply Charges. Most other New York utilities have already converted to similar billing formats.
Under LIPA's new billing statement configuration, customers will see a line for Delivery & System Charges, which covers costs associated with operating and maintaining LIPA's Transmission and Distribution System. Customers will also see another line for Power Supply Charges, which covers costs associated with the price of oil, gas and purchased power.
The new configuration for presenting the billing information is revenue neutral and will not impact the cost of electric bills. LIPA has already indicated that its bills will not increase this year baring a Katrina-like event or worldwide crises.
"We've changed the way billing information is presented to our customers so they can easily see the prices they are being charged for delivering electricity to their home or business, and for the cost of oil, gas and purchased power that LIPA acquires on their behalf," said LIPA Chairman Richard M. Kessel. "The new information should help customers gain a greater understanding of various elements that make up their LIPA bills and show how much they are paying for fuel and purchased power including the cost of oil and natural gas.
"LIPA is instituting a billing practice that has been followed by electric and gas utilities around the state for several years," said Mr. Kessel. "By providing more detailed billing information, customers will have a clearer understanding of the cost of the electricity consumed."
LIPA said that the new bill format would clearly state a change in bills - up or down - if bills change in the future. Mr. Kessel pointed out that while the base rate charged for delivering electricity to customers has not changed since May, 1998, the charge for power supplied to customers has increased substantially to reflect the dramatically higher prices for oil and natural gas used in generating electricity and the cost of power LIPA purchases for its customers. Just yesterday, the price of a barrel of oil exceeded $75.
"The huge increase in the market price of oil and natural gas in recent years had a tremendous impact on what LIPA must pass along to its customers. We've been able to protect our customers from the full impact of increased natural gas and fuel oil prices, but last year's increases due to hurricanes Katrina and Rita had an unprecedented impact on the price of fossil fuels, especially the price of oil which has remained high all through this year."
Once again, Mr. Kessel noted that LIPA's rates and charges will not go up for the balance of 2006 baring a Katrina-like event or worldwide crises. And that the new format for presenting billing information to customers is not causing bills to go up.
It will take about two months for all of LIPA's more than 1.1 million customers to receive a bill that contains the new information.
As Long Island enters the peak season for electricity consumption due to air conditioning use, customers are reminded that LIPA's "53 Ways to Save" campaign can help customers reduce electric use all year long through some easy-to-follow energy efficiency recommendations.
LIPA's website, www.lipower.org, has information about the new billing format that could be helpful to customers, and the "53 Ways to Save" recommendations.
Customers who have any questions about their bills and the new billing statement presentation should call LIPA's Customer Assistance Center at 1-800-490-0025.