National Grid to Lead LIPA ‘Blizzard’ Response

Richard Kessel
LIPA crews working to restore power after Superstorm Sandy. (Rashed Mian/Long Island Press)
LIPA crews
LIPA crews during Superstorm Sandy. (Rashed Mian/Long Island Press)

In an unprecedented move, National Grid will take the lead from LIPA in communicating storm response as Long Island braces for a “powerful” winter storm.

“As LIPA’s service provider and to ensure consistency in messaging, National Grid is commanding this incident and is best suited to communicate storm preparation and storm response to the public,” a Long Island Power Authority spokeswoman said in a statement.

The move comes as officials worry about LIPA’s ability to respond to the “powerful” winter storm that has the potential to drop up to a foot of snow on the Island. Everyone from ratepayers to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo criticized LIPA’s response to Superstorm Sandy, which left nearly 1 million customers in the dark for days following the October hurricane.

National Grid released a statement Thursday afternoon announcing it would take “advance steps” to prepare for the incoming storm, which is predicted to bring blizzard-like conditions to the Island.

The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for both Nassau and Suffolk Counties from 6 a.m. Friday to 1 p.m. Saturday.

The winter storm has the potential to knock out power to more than 100,000 LIPA customers, National Grid said.

“National Grid is taking numerous advance steps to prepare the system for the predicted weather and to position the company for an efficient and timely restoration effort,” the utility said.

In preparation for the storm, National Grid is prepared to secure hundreds of extra line crews, tree trimmers and personnel to support more than 500 lineman and 150 tree trimmers, the utility said.

National Grid has also laid out plans to bolster call center personnel and to coordinate efforts with local and state government.