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LIPA Sends Out Customer Bills

Credit: David Reich-Hale
Credit: David Reich-Hale
Story by David Reich-Hale.

As Hurricane Sandy pummeled Long Island last week, Levittown's Victoria Kalt Waterman joined more than 900,000 of her closest friends in the dark.

Unable to reach the Long Island Power Authority or turn on her lights, she has been there ever since.

In the meantime, she shivered and the mail showed up. So did the Long Island Power Authority bill, which she has yet to pay.

After 11 days without power, Waterman said on Facebook "I will send my payment 11 days late."

The timely distribution of bills have angered some ratepayers, who have otherwise heard little from LIPA, forcing them to depend on an outage map many have called inaccurate. 

In Greenlawn, Edward Woody Ryder IV said he lost power last Monday. After six days of watching that outage map on LIPA's site, there was light. On the seventh day, there would also be a bill for $138.

"We are in a first world country, but we have a fourth world electrical authority," Ryder said. "It's astounding. They could have stopped the automated bill system. They clearly know nothing about crisis communications. What they've done makes no sense. How they've handled this makes no sense."

Across Long Island, readers said they haven't been able to reach the power authority. The text messaging system LIPA pumped before the storm was ineffective - silent, according to some, including Rena Barsh-Rudolph, who wrote to East Meadow Patch that "my husband signed up to get communication from them via text and we haven't heard anything in days."

Matt Harris of Huntington Station hasn't heard much from LIPA either, even though he hasn't had power for 10 days. As for the bill? Yes, that came "two days ago."

Debby Izzo, who owns Dirty Dawg, a dog grooming business in Bellmore, was more forgiving than most. She wrote "billing is done by computer" and added that "LIPA office employees" are doing their jobs.

Izzo added, "Don't hate. Maybe take notice to how many more bills are estimated rather than actual."

Ryder, meanwhile, said he would pay his bill, because he had no choice.

 "What am I going to do, not pay it?" Ryder said. "I have to pay it. Otherwise they'll send me a disconnect letter and turn my power off."

LIPA spokesman Mark Gross didn't immediately return a phone call requesting comment.
Laura Petry November 08, 2012 at 02:02 PM
I just saw Govenor Cuomo speak on LIPA. "They have failed us"!!!! They have not lived up to their contractual obligation. I am on day 11 without power. What recourse do I or my neighbors have??? You know my account will be debited my monthly installment as if nothing is wrong. Who is accountable??? If my bill is late I am penalized - Is Lipa going to credit me for not providing services for 11 or more days???
Harjit Singh November 08, 2012 at 05:20 PM
I have created a petition to replace LIPA, please sign it and tell your story in the comments since LIPA customer Service won't listen. We can be all heard. http://www.change.org/petitions/replace-lipa-long-island-power-authority
James bush November 09, 2012 at 07:32 AM
Don't pay it
Kathy Martinez November 10, 2012 at 03:04 AM
Amazing. They don't have enough supplies, their linemen are overworked, their systems are supposedly antiquated ... but they manage to get the bills out on time ... way to go LIPA!
Kathy Martinez November 10, 2012 at 03:06 AM
I REFUSE to set up an automatic debit to LIPA! I too am on a budget plan, so I know full well that by the time the end of the budget year comes around, they will have increased the rates just enough that I will NEVER see a credit!

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