Cuomo Proposes Legislation To Hold Utilities Accountable For Storm Failures

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Pool photo by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo / Flickr.ALBANY — Saying the response by utilities in New York during recent storms was unacceptable, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing legislation to hold utilities more accountable for their storm responses.In response to what Cuomo calls unacceptable performance of multiple electric and telecom service providers during tropical storm Isaias, the legislation will increase the current legal limits on penalties and create a streamlined process for revocation of a utility’s operating certificate for recurring failures.“The response by the utility companies to Isaias was unacceptable and it’s even worse that they continue to have such problems during storms and in the aftermath. We know these storms are going to happen. We don’t pay for utilities to function on a nice day, the essence of what we pay for is be ready for a storm — give me information when my power goes out and get it back on quickly,” Cuomo said.“The laws are too protective of the utility companies and that has to change. I am proposing legislation that will create penalties that are significant and will force utilities to change their behavior. The bill will also create a faster revocation process so that if they’re not providing that service then we will find someone else who can and do it quickly. We must pass this new law and do it right away.” Currently, penalties related to reliability and continuity of electric service, including restoration following a major outage or event, start at $100,000 or .02 of 1 percent of annual intrastate gross operating revenue, whichever is greater, for each separate and distinct offense. Penalties rise to $500,000 or .04 of 1 percent, whichever is greater, for combo gas and electric utilities in the restoration of electric service following a major outage event or emergency.In addition, the bill will require utilities to clearly communicate with customers during outages and give accurate information regarding power restoration so New Yorkers can make informed decisions and plan based on the time of the outage.last_img

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