New York’s Gov. Cuomo Warns Utility Company CEOs: Get The Power Back On Or Else

While the East Coast works toward restoring power to those impacted by Hurricane/Superstorm/Awful Weather Phenomenon Sandy, New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo is warning the CEOs of the state’s utility companies that whatever they’re doing to restore power, they need to ramp it up and get it done. If they don’t, he warns in a letter to seven head honchos, there will be hell to pay in the form of losing the certificates necessary to do business in the state.

Cuomo addressed the letter to ConEd, Orange and Rockland Utilities, Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp, Rochester Gas & Electric Corp. & New York State Electric & Gas Corp., National Grid – NY, National Grid, USA, Long Island Power Authority today, writing that those companies need to meet their obligations to New Yorkers when they need it most. Namely, right now.

In the letter’s opening, Cuomo acknowledges all the hard work and efforts of utility workers currently in the field trying to restore service, but says that because the public entrusts utility companies with its trust, those companies have a responsibility like elected officials to provide safe and adequate utility service.

He adds that there was plenty of time to prepare for the impending storm, so if the utilities didn’t do so, that will be reflected in the companies’ responses to this emergency.

Cuomo writes, in part (click here for the full letter):

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”) 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.

In summation: You will not be doing business in this state if you fail to get the power back on safely and as soon as possible.

Governor Cuomo Holds Utilities Accountable for Their Performance [Governor Cuomo's Office]