LIPA bills on the rise?

April 30, 2008 3:14:50 PM PDT
The Long Island Power Authority is unveiling it's most ambitious energy conservation program to date.The plan is certainly considered green, but it also has many LIPA customers seeing red. That's because it's going to cost them a lot over the next 10 years.

Eyewitness News reporter Carolina Leid has the story.

Helen Greenlee does whatever she can to save money on her utility bill. She uses energy efficient light bulbs and oil to heat her Uniondale home.

She and her husband live on a fixed income, so a couple of bucks means big bucks.

She's angry about the proposed utility bill hike.

"Gas is going up, food is outrageous, how much more can we take?" she asked. "School taxes are going up. Everything is going up. Enough is enough."

Her last utility bill came in at $188.

Long Island Power Authority officials say they can help homeowners like Helen lower that.

"We need to be smarter with the energy we're using," LIPA president Kevin Law said. "I think it's a good time. Even though people are struggling, we need to be focused on the cost of fuel and how it's impacting them."

The average homeowner is looking at tacking on an extra $1.50 to $2.50 on top of their bill.

LIPA says that money goes to "Efficiency Long Island', a 10-year, $1 billion energy conservation program.

Here's how it works.

Customers who buy more efficient products and services will get rebates and cost reductions. Those who don't still have to pay up, but don't get lower bills.

Long Island University professor and energy expert Matthrew Cordaro says it's bad timing.

"Families are seeing higher and higher costs, gas, electricity," he said. "And this is just something to add to that. At some point, people have enough."

LIPA will evaluate the plan through June then make a decision.