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Sandy latest: Probe ordered into New York's utility performance

New York governor Andrew Cuomo has launched a commission to investigate utility companies’ storm preparation and management procedures in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Cuomo has been frustrated with the poor response of the utilities, in particular the Long Island Power Authority (Lipa), following last month’s hurricane which cause loss of power to much of New York state. Over two weeks after the storm 10,000 Lipa customers remain without power.

He signed an Executive Order to establish a commission under the Moreland Act that will investigate the response, preparation, and management of New York’s power utility companies with major storms hitting the state over the past two years, including Hurricanes Sandy and Irene, and Tropical Storm Lee.

The commission will be tasked to undertake a thorough review of all actions taken by the power companies before and after these emergencies, and make specific recommendations to reform and modernise oversight, regulation and management of New York’s power delivery services.

“From Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee, to Hurricane Sandy, over the past two years New York has experienced some of the worst natural disasters in our state’s history,” said Cuomo. “As we adjust to the reality of more frequent major weather incidents, we must study and learn from these past experiences to prepare for the future.”

The commission’s mandate includes examining and making recommendations to reform the overlapping responsibilities and missions of New York Power Authority, Lipa, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the Public Service Commission.

Cuomo said Hurricane Sandy proved the vast number of regulatory bodies, state agencies and authorities, and quasi-governmental bodies has contributed to a dysfunctional utility system.

The Commission will have the ppwer to summon and examine witnesses under oath.

Members of the commission include:

  • Co-Chair Robert Abrams, former New York State attorney general
  • Co-Chair Benjamin Lawsky, Superintendent of the Department of Financial Services
  • Dan Tishman Aecom vice chairman and Tischman chairman and chief executive officer
  • Peter Bradford, former Chair of the Public Service Commission
  • Tony Collins, Clarkson University president
  • Kathleen Rice, Nassau County District Attorney

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