The New York State Public Service Commission said today that it has completed its review of utilities’ response to last year’s tropical storms Lee and Irene. The verdict: The companies could have done better.
And the PSC is offering a compact 100 recommendations on how the power companies and telephone companies can improve after last summer’s storms knocked out service to more than 1.1 million electric customers and 900,000 telephone customers.
The PSC also did a separate review of the Long Island Power Authority’s response after it was widely criticized for failing to get power back to many customers for nearly a week.
“I personally saw the devastating destruction that Hurricane Irene and the other storms caused to downstate and upstate communities,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. “With the recommendations in hand, utilities will be able to better prepare for and respond to storms. While we can’t eliminate the threat of outages, we can work to reduce the outages that occur and we can find ways to restore power more quickly and communicate necessary information more effectively.”
The regulatory agency also reviewed the response to last October’s nor’easter, which left more than 400,000 customers in New York for as long as eight days.
Basically, the PSC said the utilities need to do a better job of communicating with the public and local officials about the outages, and to improve communication among themselves.
In another report, the PSC said the system’s overall reliability was only slightly worse in 2011 than in 2010, mainly because of the storms.
Tropical Storm Irene, which hit on August 28, 2011, caused such severe damage from flooding and high winds that Cuomo declared a state of emergency in 38 of New York’s 62 counties.
The utilities’ reports on the storm responses can be viewed here: www.dps.ny.gov. On the web site, then go to the Search section and reference cases 11-M-0481, 12-E-0283 and 11-M-0595.