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Moreland Commission To Turn Attention To Upstate Utility Companies

Rochester Gas & Electric and NYSEG crews are preparing to respond to expected downed power lines this weekend.
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Rochester Gas & Electric and NYSEG crews are preparing to respond to expected downed power lines this weekend.

The commission set up by Governor Cuomo to examine the response of the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA)  has recommended privatizing the entity to improve decision making, and provide better value to customers through investor-owned rate structures.

In its first presentation since it was convened, the Moreland Commission on Utility Storm Preparation and Response returned a scathing finding of failures by the leadership of LIPA, leading to the long delays in the restoration of utilities on Long Island NY following Superstorm Sandy.

Commissioners cited catastrophic communication failures and the absence of information, while at the same time acknowledging the long hours worked by LIPA field crews who tried to restore services to customers. (LIPA has 112 staff).

Local regulation, and a lack of authority vested in elected local officials were also highlighted as reasons for slow response times in New York’s Nassau and Suffolk counties.

Commission member and President of Clarkson University, Tony Collins, signaled that the Commission would now turn its attention to upstate utility companies to examine their storm preparedness and response planning. He indicated that providers in Western New York and the North Country would come under similar scrutiny.

Governor Cuomo providing closing remarks: “This dovetails nicely with what we heard from the Ready and Response Commission. This is exactly what we needed. I think we have what we need for State of the State”.  [The address he will deliver Wednesday]

Cuomo was also critical of the oversight system and the PSC, saying that the system was ‘skewed’ in favor of the electricity companies.

“The structure of LIPA didn’t work, the structure of the PSC (Public Service Commission) didn’t work….this relationship has to be restructured.”