Individuals will have a maximum of 3-5 minutes to provide their comments. The schedule for the hearings and info for registration can be found on the LIPA Commission website. The average person speaks approximately 100-130 words per minute, so you should prepare statements no longer than 300 words. Ideally, your testimony should contain four elements:
1) Who you are and where you're from. This should include your name and town or community, as well as how you identify yourself, whether a parent, a teacher, a business owner, an environmentalist, etc.
2) Who – if anyone – you are associated with. That is, if you're a member of an organization, or community group. We encourage you to say you’re a member of the Reimagine LIPA campaign.
3) Your demands – that is, the talking points about what you're specifically looking for in a reimagined LIPA. Reference one or two of the specifics that you find most compelling – whether it's a multi-stakeholder Board where local voices determine the composition by appointment, around maintaining the current unionized workforce, or ensuring lower rates.
4) Most importantly, the personal touch: Your story about why this matters – to you, your family, your community.
Sample Verbal Testimony
My name is _______, a resident of ________, a (teacher, parent, business owner), and a Long Island Power Authority ratepayer. I am here to say that I support the work of this Commission. The findings of the draft report only reconfirm what many have pointed out for years: Long Island and Rockaway ratepayers will be better off without PSEG. A fully public LIPA will lower rates and provide more transparency and accountability, with more opportunities for local input. Now we must finalize the details to get there. The Commission must introduce legislation in time to pass in the 2024 session.
I care about this issue because I pay too much for my electric bill. I was also negatively impacted by both Superstorm Sandy and Tropical Storm Isaias. I believe our utility should do more to protect ratepayers, invest in resilient infrastructure, and expand renewable energy. It must also be more democratic and provide meaningful opportunities for community participation.
We need to transform the Board of Trustees to make it more accountable and diverse. This means restructuring it to have more expertise and to better represent ratepayers and their communities. We need to establish an accountable and representative multi-stakeholder Board where local voices help determine the composition by appointment.
A new Community Board must be established to replace the existing Advisory Board. The Community Board should be made up of representatives from diverse sectors and backgrounds with proper geographic representation, all from within the LIPA service territory. It must play a leading role in engaging communities across the service territory in determining rate structure, accessing energy programs, implementing renewable energy projects, providing support during outages and other emergencies, and developing initiatives to help the utility realize its mission. It must be resourced with research support, technical assistance, and a budget.
In order for the Community Board to be properly resourced, it must be supported by an independent Energy Observatory which would be funded by half of the current DPS-LI budget. Every self-directed public utility needs an independent partner institution to help monitor and advise the utility, engage ratepayers, conduct independent research, and support communities in their own efforts for resilience and energy justice.
A restructured LIPA must spend more of its revenues for the benefit of our communities. LIPA should lower utility rates, especially for low-income households, seniors on fixed incomes, and small businesses. It should reinvest revenues to enhance resiliency, like burying our lines. And it should improve identification of and service to customers with special needs. We also need a more equitable rate structure and to explore ending power shutoffs for low-income customers who can't pay.
Finally, unless requested by the workers, there must be no change to jobs, salaries, or benefits for the 2,500 ServCo employees under LIPA. IBEW Local 1049 has made it clear they do not want to be a public sector union. There are a few pathways to ensuring this outcome that they will help determine. We must support IBEW's position in the transition and stand with the workers who have kept this system running.
Thank you for your time and consideration.