UNIONDALE, N.Y. (WPIX)—The Long Island Power Authority beefed up its response team in anticipation of Hurricane Earl, bringing in hundreds of line crews from out of state to help restore power in the storm's aftermath.
As it turns out, Long Island was spared the brunt of the storm. However, Long Island tax payers may have to foot an estimated $30-million bill for all those preparations.
LIPA spokeswoman Vanessa Baird Streeter tried to explain to PIX 11 News why the company felt it needed to bring in reinforcements from as far Missouri and Michigan.
"We prepared based on the forecast," she said. "We couldn't rely on crews that were in the vicinity because utilities would not release those crews."
The June micro-burst in Great Neck caused far more destruction than Earl with tons of snapped power lines and poles. However, the clean up cost $15-million, precisely half the cost of Earl- partly because crews only had to be brought in from upstate New York and Connecticut.
Overall, LIPA went roughly $102-million over budget in storm
Despite going $102-million over budget, LIPA says that is less than 2% of its operating cost. In addition, the utility is looking to make cuts elsewhere to keep rates down.
"For our a 2011 budget, we are looking to increase our budget line that we have for storm costs so that we can make sure if we hit a year like this again ... we can have a budget to withstand the costs," said Baird Streeter.