LIPA to Raise Rates By 2 Percent

The hike is not related to Irene costs.

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    The hike is not related to Irene costs.

    The Long Island Power Authority announced a 2 percent rate increase for its customers Tuesday that will take effect during the next billing cycle.

    The hike will amount to slightly more than $3 a month for the average residential customer.

    LIPA Chief Operating Officer Michael Hervey said the increase is not related to costs endured during the cleanup from Irene, and is needed to cover higher-than-expected fuel costs from the spring and early summer.

    The utility said recently that Irene was the most expensive storm in the utility's history, costing $176 million to restore power and clean up the damage left in its wake.

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    Tropical storm Irene has left many families without electricity. LIPA says it is hoping to restore power by Friday.

    Customers may still have to foot the bill for Irene costs; that could come next year.

    FEMA is expected to reimburse 75 percent of the Irene expenses, but LIPA will be on the hook to cover the rest, about $44 million.

    Irene knocked out power to more than 523,000 LIPA customers, a record for the utility.

    LIPA's costs included transporting and paying for more than 3,500 extra workers from out of town, and putting them in hotels.