LIPA bills more than double at Ridge senior community
BY MARK HARRINGTON | email@example.com
8:32 PM EST, February 26, 2009
With more cold weather predicted for next week, seniors from the Leisure Knoll community in Ridge are once again bracing for a double whammy: chilly temperatures and off-the-chart LIPA bills.
The 700 homes in this primarily fixed-income community have all-electric heat, and as a result have been hit with LIPA bills more than double last year's -- some exceeding $1,000, according to several residents.
It's unclear how many Leisure Knoll residents may be affected by a new $10-million program by LIPA to help low-income seniors pay their electric bills. Many of the residents have pension incomes, and probably won't qualify. National Grid will administer the program for a year for a fee of up to $600,000, LIPA said.
Financial help or not, complaints of overbilling and accusations of a meter-reading "scam" by LIPA grew so loud at Leisure Knoll starting in January that the authority conducted a mass review of 700 bills and sent crews to do 106 "special reads" of electric meters, the authority said.
There were no errors in the bills," said LIPA spokesman Ed Dumas. "It's just an unfortunate byproduct of electric heat. When it gets cold, it gets expensive." LIPA estimates this winter has been 35 percent colder than last year's. The impact is being felt beyond Leisure Knoll. Some 40,000 Long Islanders have electric heat and receive a special rate in peak seasons, Dumas said. But with LIPA's power supply charge near record highs, the special rate provides only marginal relief.
Leisure Knoll residents were particularly angered because record-high bills came despite their efforts over the past year to conserve energy, including through LIPA efficiency programs.
"We have done everything that we possibly could," said retired nurse Deborah Berlin, 72, who spoke from her living room wearing thermal underwear over sweatpants and a sweater. Her LIPA bill more than doubled last month, to $892 from around $400 in January 2008, despite LIPA efficiency measures.
Berlin said she and many people she knows have turned their thermostats down to under 65 degrees.
Outrage over high bills is only part of the concern, Leisure Knoll residents said. Einar Sorli, 67, a retired postal worker, said he has complained to LIPA and legislators that the authority purposely lowballed his December meter reading so that it could include more of his usage in the January bill, when LIPA rates increased by 3.2 percent.
"I believe this was done purposely to get more money since there was an increase in rates," he said. Sorli and his wife, Carol, live with the thermostat set between 55 and 60 degrees, and drive to a laundry to avoid running up bills rather than use their own electric appliances, he said.
Dumas denied any intentional meter manipulation, though he noted billing periods routinely vary from 29 days to 38 days, thus stretching out some bills.
To make matters worse, residents said they don't trust a system in which LIPA plays investigator and judge when they file formal complaints about service or bills. "When we tried to complain to LIPA, we got nowhere," Berlin said. LIPA is one of the few electric utilities in the state that is not regulated by the Public Service Commission.
Berlin wrote a letter she plans to deliver to Sen. Kenneth LaValle and other legislators with 100 signatures demanding relief from soaring bills.
Showing posts 1 - 5 of 5
Sam’ If this is the way we are going to be treated as old people, we'd better move out of New York State before we reach old age. New York and LIPA are two cold places in more than one way for the aged. It speaks real poorly of the way New Yorkers treat their elderly
Frank I asked LIPA to check my meter to see if it was calibrated correctly due to my neighbors bills are routinely lower than mine. They have more people living there, a larger home, and an electric stove, pool, dishwasher, etc. We are a working family and only home on the weekends. We have a propane stove, no dishwasher, and our electric useage is for the normal stuff.
They flat out refused, questioned why neighbors would compare bills, and mailed me a self electric survey.
I guess when you can do whatever you want to do with no real watchful eye, you do whatever you want to do.
Liner Frank wrote:
I asked LIPA to check my meter to see if it was calibrated correctly due to my neighbors bills are routinely lower than mine. They have more people living there, a larger home, and an electric stove, pool, dishwasher, etc. We are a working family and only home on the weekends. We have a propane stove, no dishwasher, and our electric useage is for the normal stuff.
They flat out refused, questioned why neighbors would compare bills, and mailed me a self electric survey.I guess when you can do whatever you want to do with no real watchful eye, you do whatever you want to do. Go over in the middle of the night and swap meters with your neighbor.
Rachel from Ridge I'm glad someone finally took the time to write about how ridiculous the rates are at LIPA. I have electric heat also, and have never heard of this "special rate" that I am supposed to be receiving. My bill last month was over $400 and I live in a small townhouse. Seeing the supply charges make up over half of my bill makes me sick. Knowing that LIPA gets away with whatever they want makes me sick. When are they finally going to be investigated? You know the answer. Never. Or when pigs fly. They have no one to answer to. They got rid of LILCO, but LIPA, in my opinion is much worse
I-Rate Patchogue NY To clear up some of Rachael’s misconceptions, I suggest visiting www.lipalies.com
to see how officials of the Long Island Power Authority and officials of its subsidiary LILCO -- which has been doing business as LIPA for over 10 years -- lie and Newsday knowingly prints these lies.
For example, she complains:“They got rid of LILCO, but LIPA, in my opinion is much worse.” But LIPA is LILCO’s DBA; so no one “got rid of LILCO”. It’s a subsidiary of a NYS criminal enterprise that pays Newsday huge advertising fees to keep many dirty little secrets and print their lies!
Without specifying which rate, Rachael also complains about the Authority’s rates – which are not set by LILCO’s DBA. I too heat with electricity, but the electricity is used to heat water in a tankless water heater that’s pumped through baseboard radiators like those in oil systems. This type of space-heating system is nearly twice as efficient as straight electric resistance heat installed in Leisure Knolls, Leisure Village, Avery Village and thousands of other all-electric homes. LILCO promoted such wasteful systems in the 1960’s to inflate demand in order to justify Shoreham and inefficient peaker-plants that made up a large fraction of the 53 power plants National Grid bought from KeySpan. I fell for this scam by switching from oil to straight electric resistance heat; the only system LILCO supported with incentives 45 years ago.
These “pigs fly“ and lie, while the Governor, Attorney General, PSC and Newsday each turn a blind eye.
She then asks:“When are they finally going to be investigated?” By whom; Cuomo and DiNapoli even approved an illegal Management Services Agreement (MSA) between National Grid & LILCO? A former PSC fined LILCO $1.4 billion as you may confirm @ www.gfxtechnology.com/RICO.pdf
, whereas the current PSC is beyond corrupt.
If Rachel closely examines her January bill, she will see the bulk of her usage is billed at a legal 5.15-cents/KWH.(In our case about 90% was billed at this rate.) Newsday is very careful to keep this a secret too, by knowingly printing lie after lie. She also complains:“… supply charges make up over half of my bill..”, whereas illegal “supply charges” & PILOTS & sales taxes thereon made up 65.43% of our $722.28 bill for 34 days (1/6/09 to 2/9/09).
Another thing Newsday has been concealing is that the Authority’s Tariff leaves 159, et. seq., allow billing disputes and forbid National Grid, LILCO’s corrupt manager, from terminating service while a billing-dispute is pending -- provided the undisputed amount is paid.
One of the most despicable lies Newsday knowingly printed in yesterday’s paper is this misleading statement attributed to Ed Dumas:“It’s just an unfortunate byproduct of electric heat”, without noting electric-hydronic heat using a tankless water heater will use nearly half as much electricity.
Dumas & Newsday know or should know this because it’s well documented in my 10-year old proposal to the Authority opened by this link “Tankless Space & Water Heating Proposal to LIPA:”@ http://gfxtechnology.com/Combi.html
I haven’t been able to update the “Case Study: Electric Heat Now Cheaper Than Oil” linked to this page because energy prices are so manipulated. Oil prices have dropped since May of 2008, while our balanced billing amount has been illegally raised by 13.89%, from $252 to $287, yet electric-hydronic heat remains competitive with oil; even with huge, illegal rate increases.
The reason the Authority did not fund my 1999 Proposal should now be obvious, a 20,000 KWH photovoltaic (PV) array would supply nearly all the energy for my house; something no electric utility wants to see – especially the Long Island Power Authority with such huge bribery, advertising, bond, payola & fuel budget needs.(Yes, National Grid stockholders don’t pay for fuel wasted in its grossly-inefficient power plants; ratepayers do