Cuomo Ratchets Up Pressure On Utilities
Gov. Andrew Cuomo increased pressure on the public utilities that provide power to the New York City metropolitan area, reminding them yet again that the state is the “regulatory body.”
Cuomo, appearing at this evening’s news briefing, said the utilities could be subject to fines and penalties or even face issues with their operating licenses should they not move quickly enough to get the power back on.
“I’ve communicated this orally to most and we’re also releasing a letter to them later today,” Cuomo said, calling it a “test of their performance.”
New York is ending Day Three in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, a so-called superstorm that killed scores, put millions in the dark and crippled transporation.
Cuomo said utility crews were working hard, but indicated that he was in no mood for further delays in getting power back on.
Cuomo also sent a letter to the utilities urging them to move quickly. It appears after the jump.
Thousands throughout New York City, Long Island and Westchester County remain in the dark several days after Hurricane Sandy swept through the area.
“This is not just a restoration of power … this is a restoration of power after families are hurting from a storm,” he said.
More problems emerged today as New Yorkers tried to get back to work, but found themselves in lengthy lines for gas.
Cuomo warned against price gouging at gas stations, saying he had spoken to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who is investigating reports of illegal hikes.
“Do not try to gouge New Yorkers,” Cuomo said. “Do not try to take advantage New Yorkers because of the situation.”
And he urged New Yorkers to check on vulnerable neighbors, especially the elderly, who may be stranded in high-rise apartments.
“New York is a community of people and right now we are a community of people that needs to support one another,” Cuomo said. “You have a lot of people undergonig very difficulty circumstances. Check on your neighbor. Check on your neighbor to the left, check on your neighbor to the right.”
Governor Cuomo’s letter to the utilities is below:
November 1, 2012
Mr. Kevin Burke, Chief Executive Officer
Consolidated Edison Co. of New York, Inc.
4 Irving Place
New York, NY 10003-3598
Mr. William Longhi, President & Chief Executive Officer
Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc.
One Blue Hill Plaza
Pearl River, NY 10965
Mr. James Laurito, President & Chief Executive Officer
Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp.
284 South Avenue
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Mr. Mark S. Lynch, President
Rochester Gas & Electric Corp. & New York State Electric & Gas Corp.
89 East Avenue
Rochester, NY 14649
Mr. Ken Daly, Chief Operating Officer
National Grid – NY
One Metro Tech Center
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Mr. Thomas B. King, President
National Grid, USA
201 Jones Road – 5th Fl.
Waltham, MA 02451-1120
Mr. Michael Hervey, Chief Operating Officer
Long Island Power Authority
333 Earle Ovington Blvd., Suite 403
Uniondale, NY 11553
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, New Yorkers are faced with responding to its continued harsh impacts on literally every facet of life. I recognize there are men and women in the field now working hard to restore service, and we are grateful for their efforts. But it is your job to provide them with adequate resources and support to get the job done in a timely and safe manner. Utilities, like elected officials, are vested with the public’s trust. In the case of utilities, in exchange for conducting business and generating profits for their shareholders, they are entrusted to provide safe and adequate utility service. When they fail to keep the public’s trust, they must answer.
Because we had several days’ notice of an event of catastrophic proportions, State and local government and New Yorkers prepared for an impending storm. Indeed, the public depended on utilities to prepare for such an event, respond to emergencies and to return, as quickly as possible, to providing safe and adequate electricity. The response of your companies to this emergency will be, in great part, a function of how well you prepared for it and a testament to how seriously you view this responsibility.
If you failed to prepare, however, as evidenced by your response, it is a failure to keep your part of the bargain – a failure to keep the trust that New Yorkers have placed in you by granting you the privilege to conduct utility business in New York State; in particular, the certificates of public convenience and necessity (“Certificate…#157;) granted by the State under the Public Service Law. New Yorkers should not suffer because electric utilities did not reasonably prepare for this eventuality. In the context of the ongoing emergency, such a failure constitutes a breach of the public trust.
Under such circumstances, I would direct the Public Service Commission to commence a proceeding to revoke your Certificates. With respect to the Long Island Power Authority, I will make every change necessary to ensure it lives up to its public responsibility. It goes without saying that such failures would warrant the removal of the management responsible for such colossal misjudgments.
ANDREW M. CUOMO
|Print article||This entry was posted by Nick Reisman on November 1, 2012 at 6:57 pm, and is filed under Andrew Cuomo. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|
Comments are closed.