Long Island Power Agency Faces Class Action Over Sandy Outages

The suit claims the Long Island Power Authority failed to replace an “outdated, obsolete” management system for dealing with large-scale power outages.

The Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) was hit with a class action lawsuit Tuesday accusing the company of negligently handling power outages that left thousands of Long Island residents in the dark in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, Reuters reports.

The class action, filed in Long Island’s Nassau County by lawyer Kenneth Mollins, claims that LIPA failed to replace an “outdated, obsolete” management system for dealing with large-scale power outages. Flaws in the system were documented in a report issued by the New York State Public Commission, which regulates utilities, last year following Hurricane Irene, the complaint says.

National Grid, which contracts with LIPA to provide power to Long Island residents, also is a defendant in the lawsuit.

LIPA declined comment and National Grid did not immediately return a request for comment Tuesday morning.

Millions of New Yorkers and others in the tri-state area lost power when Sandy hit on October 29 with hurricane-force winds.

In addition to the lawsuit, Mollins is demanding that state authorities investigate the steps LIPA and National Grid took to implement recommendations in the post-Irene report, and what LIPA did to prepare for outages as Sandy bore down on the East Coast.

One of two named plaintiffs in the lawsuit waited 14 days before his power was restored, and the other is still without power, Mollins said.

“The system is antiquated and needs significant upgrades,” Mollins said. “By not taking advantage of the commission’s recommendations, the people of Nassau and Suffolk Counties have suffered.”

The lawsuit, which was brought on behalf of Long Island residents, seeks an unspecified amount of damages for claims including gross negligence, fraud and breach of contract.

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