Published November 24, 2012
Some Long Island Power Authority customers are charged up after they received their normal electric bill despite spending weeks without power due to Hurricane Sandy.
The New York Post reported that Long Island residents received an estimated rate that covered the entire billing cycle, and the statements made no mention of potential refunds to account for the prolonged blackouts.
"I can't get LIPA to acknowledge my existence on earth to talk to me about anything," Jonathan Saporta told the paper after getting hit with $649 for a home he left in October and $281 bill for his new place. "But I guess they had power, so they could print my bills. Nice, right?"
The paper reported that LIPA did not return phone calls seeking comment.
To be sure, the utility was widely criticized for its hurricane response and preparedness.
LIPA said in its defense that the storm was worse than anyone could have imagined and that it didn't just damage outdoor electrical lines; it caused flooding that touched home and business breaker boxes. LIPA also acknowledged that an outdated computer system for keeping customers notified has added to people's frustration.
But some say the government-run utility should have seen it coming. It was recently criticized in a withering state report for lax preparation ahead of last year's Hurricane Irene and for the 25-year-old computer system used to pinpoint outages and update customers.
At its peak, Sandy knocked out power to 8.5 million customers in 10 states, with New York and New Jersey bearing the brunt.
The paper reported that Con Ed, the utility that lights up Manhattan, wants to refund its city customers who lost power $3 and customers from the outer boroughs $6. Those figures represent a portion of customers’ fixed monthly bills, which exclude power usage, the report said.
Saporta, for his part, promised to fight the bills.
"I am not paying any of my bills, that much I promise," Saporta said. "They can put me into collections, and I'll fight them tooth-and-nail."
"It's simply criminal."
The Associated Press contributed to this report