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PSEG Outages Up, Residents Demand Answers

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Residents in Long Island are demanding to know why they've experienced more power outages since PSEG took over for the Long Island Power Authority in 2014.

CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reports that outages are up 37 percent over last year, with nearly 270,000 reported since January.

In heavily treed East Hills, residents say they thought the bad old days were over.

But while the number of outages have gone up, resident Olivia Rich tells CBS2 they don't last as long as they used to.

"We definitely have seen progress," she said.

Still, the spike in outages has energy expert Matthew Cordaro, a LIPA board member, concerned.

"Sure it's disappointing," he said. "I'm one of those customers and I've been out a number of times in that time period."

But he says growing pains are to be expected in the massive transition from LIPA to PSEG.

PSEG has blamed the outage increase on a computer glitch and new safety measures for line workers.

"We're still the most reliable overhead system in New York State and we are willing to compromise a few percentage points in reliability to ensure the long term safety of our employees," said PSEG spokesman Jeffrey Weir.

Additionally, the number of smaller storms this year has contributed to a rise in outages according to PSEG.

"The bigger storms we are more prepared for," said Weir. "We call in additional resources where necessary."

Energy experts say that for a utility company to take a leap forward, it sometimes has to take a few steps back, and that PSEG has to now focus on fixing whatever it is that's causing the uptick in outages.

CBS2 reported that PSEG stands to lose millions of dollars in incentive funds if they don't meet previously set reliability standards.

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