Gov. Cuomo creates commission to investigate storm response of ConEd, LIPA and more
After repeatedly slamming utility companies over their response to Hurricane Sandy, Gov. Andrew Cuomo Tuesday announced a special commission to investigate how ConEd and other public utilities have handled major storms in the past two years.
Dubbed the Moreland Commission, Cuomo said he wants the panel to make recommendations "to reform the overlapping responsibilities of" the utilities that responded storms such as Tropical Storm Irene in 2011 and Hurricane Sandy.
"This situation painfully exposed the failings," of the utilities, Cuomo said. "Hopefully, we now have the political will to actually bring about change. I don't want to lose the moment."
In signing an executive order to create the commission, Cuomo noted that "serious questions have been raised about the adequacy of utility management, structures, resources, the currently regulatory framework and oversight to ensure effective preparation for and response to natural disasters" in the state.
The commission will have subpoena power and can take testimony under oath, the governor said, but it doesn't have enforcement authority.
ConEd, which services some 3 million customers in the city, said it "looks forward to working with the commission to discuss the company's preparation and response to Superstorm Sandy.
"As always, we work to continuously improve our service to customers. We will continue to work with all parties to review new technology and infrastructure options that would benefit New Yorkers."
The governor specifically called out the Long Island Power Authority, which services some Queens residents, saying it's "been beyond repair for a very, very long time.
"I don't believe you can fix it," Cuomo said.
LIPA didn't return calls for comment.
The 10-member panel will be led by former state Attorney General Robert Abrams and Benjamin Lawsky, one of Cuomo's top lieutenants and currently head of the state Department of Financial Services.
Besides ConEd and LIPA, Cuomo cited the New York Power Authority, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the Public Service Commission as agencies to be investigated.