Save the Date: Public Hearing on Utilities’ Storm Response in Westchester

The Moreland Commission public hearing is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 24 at SUNY Purchase.


The Moreland Commission on Utility Storm Preparation and Response has scheduled a public hearing to solicit comments from residents in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties on Thursday, Jan. 24.

The hearing begins at 6 p.m. at the SUNY Purchase Performing Arts Center at 735 Anderson Hill Road in Purchase. Community members may also submit testimony before or after the hearing at comments@moreland.ny.gov.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo established the commission on Nov. 13, 2012, under the Moreland Act, to investigate the response, preparation, and management of New York’s power utility companies to several major storms impacting the state. The storms include Hurricanes Sandy and Irene, and Tropical Storm Lee. In New York, 2.1 million customers lost power from Hurricane Sandy, some of them for as long as 21 days. 

The Moreland Commission already held three public hearings, which focused on two specific issues. The topics, which the public is asked to address, deal with the emergency preparedness and response of utilities to recent storms and recommendations for restructuring utilities’ oversight in New York to improve the reliable and affordable transmission of power.

When they arrive at the hearing, members of the public can register to speak. Comments will be limited to three minutes in order to allow as many people as possible to share their views. Moreland Commission spokesman David Neustadt said several commissioners would be present at the hearing in Purchase.

Although the public hearing is called for Rockland, Westchester and Putnam counties, He said speakers are not limited to those areas but can speak about experiences in other parts of the state.

“In any case, the commission wanted to be sure to cover all the areas affected,” said Neustadt.

The commission already held hearings in New York City, Nassau and Suffolk counties and scheduled two more for the Rockaways/Queens and Staten Island prior to the one in Purchase.

The Commission issued an interim report of almost 60 pages on January 7, much of which dealt with the Long Island Power Authority as well as making recommendations for improvements. A PowerPoint presentation summarizing the findings is available. 

mark January 13, 2013 at 01:13 PM
the storm was beyond imagination. i think the response was OK, especially since no workers were killed. go out there and do some tree work before you complain
Donald Diamond January 13, 2013 at 02:27 PM
Someone does not need to die before we learn to prevent disaster. The failure to require cable companies and cell phone utilities to have backup power is an invitation to disaster. My wife and I are octogenarians who lost phone and internet access when the cable access ended with the power outage. We have a cell phone with AT&T service for use in an emergency. Cell phone access went out with the power outage and remained out. Its service was the last to be restored. With those outages there was no way to communicate with the outside world to obtain emergency help if needed.. Moreover, we could not leave the house to obtain medical assistance, purchase food, etc. Our electric garage door opener was no use. The door is too heavy for to lift.. We believe that AT&T and all wireless phone companies should be required to have backup electric power so that they continue to operate when they lose normal power. Additionally, cable companies should have backup power too. If cable transmissions lines are undamaged, they should not be allowed to shut down because power loss prevents them from transmitting current. We also believe that NYSE&G and all electric utility companies should be required to make restoration of power to Cable and Wireless Phone Companies a priority for service. There is no excuse for wireless phone companies being unable to operate because they have no backup power. The same is true for Cablevision and other phone companies..
dave watanabe January 13, 2013 at 02:49 PM
The response was okay for Bedford neighborhood considering the severity of the storm but I can't help wonder, why aren't we putting electric lines underground instead of constantly redoing the same work over and over again? Maybe we could electric companies could add a 10 year surcharge of say $10 to monthly electric bills and start burying the lines when the weather is good to help with the cost? I feel it is the electric companies responsibility and not NY State considering in the end, it's in their own best interest and ultimate cost saver. I don't know, I'm not an expert in these matters but I think it's time that electric customers expect more in 2013 in how our electricity is delivered into our homes.
Len Martello January 13, 2013 at 09:44 PM
Why should we be charged extra for an underground wiring program while the utilities are making huge profits? How about putting some of that profit back into improving the delivery system? We need to fine the utilities big-time for future mishandled situations. They take a slap on the wrist and do nothing to improve, it fits their profit model better than modernizing. The response was badly coordinated in Bedford, between especially between NYSEG and the town. Our citizens deserve better and our town gov't should demand more.


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