False Conclusion - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 2074320

False Conclusion

My attention is normally more focused on national politics, but I find myself drawn into the local crusade to return our electrical utility back to home rule, so to speak [“Overwhelming Support To Make LIPA Public Entity at Southampton Hearing,” 27east.com, January 23].

I find this idea far from appealing, because, as I have observed, the quality of management delivered by PSEG has produced significant improvement over the slipshod grid that was the Long Island Lighting Company previously.

The Long Island Power Authority employed a privately run company with decades of experience in New Jersey to wrestle with the mess we were left with after the political implosion that the abandonment of our nuclear facility created. It put professionals in charge.

I own no stock in PSEG, but I am familiar with them from my time building in New Jersey. Here, I watched the rundown infrastructure as PSEG systematically upgraded it all throughout Suffolk County. Yes, we had hurricanes that exposed weaknesses in our grid, but with each stress test of that work we made progress toward reliability and responsiveness.

You shouldn’t draw the false conclusion that because there are outages, the work done hasn’t made a significant difference. I can recall rolling blackouts due to inadequate power availability in the summertime. Our refrigeration would be damaged by the inadequate amperage to run the compressors. It was almost third world-ish in its unreliability.

We no longer suffer those indignities. Our planning and implementation of energy policy provided by the professionals at PSEG Long Island have restored confidence to our neighborhoods here on the East End.

It worries me greatly when the politicians want to show us how smart they are, especially at running a huge enterprise like our power grid. They are amateurs, no matter what they tell you. The $70 million they claim they will save us by eliminating the professionals won’t be money we will see in our pockets. No, it will probably find itself misspent on some pet project our leaders will promise us will make our lives better.

I have grave doubts that the climate change projects, including the wind farms and solar fields our politicians are so in love with, will ever lower our cost per kilowatt hour. I worry that the ability to add energy created by natural gas or fossil fuels when these passive systems fail to meet our demands will have been abandoned by these same politicians to satisfy the need to appear progressive enough to maintain popularity in their constituencies. Decisions based on virtue signaling are not going to be superior to management based on performance and experience.

PSEG Long Island management is not a bargain, if that’s what this argument comes down to. You will get what you pay for in the end.

Ed Surgan