DiNapoli Initiates Baseline Audit of Long Island Power Authority
New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced he is initiating a broad scoped audit of the Long Island Power Authority that will establish a baseline performance level for the Authority. The baseline audit, which will begin the week of May 5, will be used as a basis to identify areas that warrant further scrutiny and that will require more targeted audits in the future. The audit is part of the Comptroller’s commitment to narrowing the gap between protections for Long Island ratepayers and those in the rest of the State.
“LIPA has not had a comprehensive audit of its overall operations since 2001,” DiNapoli said. “Since that time, rates have increased steadily and management has changed. Long Islanders deserve the same degree of transparency and accountability provided to other utility customers. This baseline audit will help us understand if the numbers we’re seeing represent the most efficient cost outlays and will give us a sound basis for future audits.”
New York State Assemblyman Marc Alessi said: “At a time when escalating energy costs seem to know no limit, we need to have faith that LIPA is acting in the best interest of Long Island’s ratepayers. LIPA should not be able to escape the intense scrutiny that is imposed on other utilities simply because the Public Service Commission neglects to subject them to review. I have long called for an outside review of LIPA’s books and I applaud Comptroller DiNapoli for stepping in to ensure efficiency and accountability to the public.”
DiNapoli’s audit will review and evaluate a wide range of LIPA’s policies, procedures, fiscal controls and other financial and management practices. Auditors will also look at National Grid’s compliance with the customer service provisions agreed to with LIPA in August 2007. Recommendations will be made to correct any deficiencies and follow-up audits will be conducted to determine whether the recommendations were implemented.
DiNapoli first announced his intention to increase monitoring of LIPA in an August 23, 2007 letter to LIPA Chairman Kevin Law. There have been numerous calls by the public, lawmakers and from LIPA itself for a review of LIPA’s rates and surcharges. A state court ruled in September 2007 that PSC did not have jurisdiction over LIPA, further underscoring the need for additional oversight.
The audit fieldwork is expected to be completed in late 2008.