Read Cuomo Administration Official’s Emails to NYSEG

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Howard Glaser, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s state director of operations, sent a pair of stern emails to the president of New York State Electric & Gas in recent days, blasting the utility for being the “by far the poorest performing utility” in responding to Superstorm Sandy.

The emails to NYSEG and Rochester Gas and Electric President Mark Lynch, which were first reported by The Associated Press, express dissatisfaction with the utility’s response in northern Westchester County, which is serviced by NYSEG. They were obtained by Gannett’s Albany Bureau Thursday evening.

“In the northern half of the county – served by you- there is silence, darkness and an utter lack of any NYSEG presence whatsoever,” Glaser wrote Thursday morning. “And your company seems utterly unable to communicate with local officials or residents, much less the Governors office. I thus propose a new motto for you: NYSEG – Lights Out, Nobody’s Home.”

NYSEG reported about 78,300 total outages as of Thursday afternoon, down from a total of 292,000 caused by the storm.

“As we continue to make repairs to the backbone of the electricity delivery system — our transmission lines and substations — and continue to bring additional resources into the locales where service is interrupted, we will see steady progress in restoring service,” NYSEG President Mark Lynch said in a statement Thursday accompanying a progress report.

In his evening briefing Thursday, Cuomo issued a stern warning to utility companies, warning that they could face a fine or decertification if they perform poorly in responding to Sandy. (Most utilities, Cuomo said, “are working very, very hard to restore the power.”)

Glaser’s two emails can be read after the jump. Various Westchester County and state officials were copied, including County Executive Rob Astorino; their email addresses have been removed.

From: Howard Glaser
Sent: Thursday, November 01, 2012 06:38 AM
To: Mark Lynch

Subject: NYSEG: Lights Out, Nobody Home

Mr Lynch: having no response to my email of last night, I decided to have a first hand look at westchester county this morning. In the southern half of the county, served by con ed, there is visible activity by con ed crews – treecutters, linemen, and utility trucks. In the northern half of the county – served by you- there is silence, darkness and an utter lack of any NYSEG presence whatsoever.
And your company seems utterly unable to communicate with local officials or residents, much less the Governors office.
I thus propose a new motto for you:

NYSEG – Lights Out, Nobody’s Home

From: Howard Glaser
Sent: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 04:04 PM
To: Mark Lynch
Subject: status

It is apparent from our conversation, in which you did not even know that you had a major transit system powered by your company, that NYSEG is woefully unprepared and not performing. The County Executive and others have advised us that NYSEG either had no plan to communicate with localities, or failed to implement it plan. Local DPWs are standing by to clear roads but cannot do so without utility help. Your plan at the moment appears to be “walk the transmission lines”. You indicated that you had not even started assessments yesterday, when every other utility was well under way. Any objective assessment is that NYSEG is by far the poorest performing utility in this situation in the state.
Accordingly, the Governor is directing that an interagency power restoration team be deployed to NYSEG’s operations to monitor and if necessary, order another utility to take over the restoration operations in NYSEG territory. In addition, we are directing James Larocca, Public Service Commissioner, to deploy to your operational center to provide regulatory oversight of NYSEG activities.
In the interests of transparency, this information will be made available to NYSEG investors.

Howard Glaser
Director of State Operations

*************************************
WE WORK FOR THE PEOPLE
Performance * Integrity * Pride

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4 Comments

  1. Hilarious! He took the City Clerk job “to get out of politics.” There’s more to this story than we’re being told, count on it.

  2. Its no surprise hearing nyseg is the worst performing utility in the state . Communication is still lacking For three days after the storm they are still assesing? Ther web site has old data which is never updated . There storm updates are a joke !!! I live in northern westchester and work in southern westchester . i have observed con ed trimming trees for the last several months . I pointed out to nyseg crews dead trees and was told (they would get it next storm ) Well now they got it. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I havent seen them trimming obvious trees that have been dead for years There is no preventative maintenance performed at all . I thought communication would have improved from last years terrible response !!! When you listen to the radio news station you hear about rockland and orange long island power and light connecticut power and light New jerlsey central con ed etc . Nyseg allways seems to be silent I agree with Mr Glasser Lights are off and no one is home. governor Cuomo should send is people who are knowlegable and no how to run a electric company

  3. Dr.Satinder Mullick on

    Our house in Gang Mills was the 2nd to be hit by Superstorm at 8.05PM on Monday night.911/FireDept.immediately responded and contacted NYSEG of Live wires on the ground.I looked from sliding door-they were approx.9 inches away from the house.Winds could have moved the wires closer to the house-which no one realized that night.Then 2 more trees after the first fell on the live wires partially stopped by the roof(damaged/leaking).This happened at 9PM.911 sent fire dept.immediately-they helped us with water leak and we stayed up whole night empyting buckets of water.
    Next morning-I saw a NYSEG truck behind our house.Rushed–told the Employee–that LIVE WIRES are more dangerous than trying to restore power.She came and saw the seriousness and called NYSEG to send someone immediately as she has other assignments.
    My Point: Customer service–writes down all these details on the account. But who reads it to assign priorities.My wife has serious health problems.They noted down but who reads it.
    Then when you call them and ask What is # or position in the QUEUE.? They couldn’t tell me.When you ask how many crews are working in our area–they won’t tell me.When you speak to the supervisor-she assured me and my daughter in conference call,she replied-the crew will be there in 4-6 hours.
    Finally at 10PM on Tuesday we checked into Hampton Inn(closeby).Next morning,she told our electrician that the power is hooked back at 9AM on Wednesday-he came to inform us to switch circuit breakers–but POWER WAS NOT HOOKED.
    Disgusted some one told me the name of a NYSEG official at 3.00PM on Wednesday explaining health issues-he promised to contact LINE DEPT. At 4.00 PM I spotted a big truck 3 houses away.Went there-the Foreman –said–so so called us and YOU are next after we restore power for a house with Cancer patient. This crew showed up at 8.30PM on wednesday.
    Now it seems that NYSEG has very poor quality Information System that can not tell us our # in the Queue. If they knew that–then it is NOT HARD to figure out “When are we likely to get a CREW”– in 40 hours or 10 hours or 4 hours.” If they tell us that -we don’t freeze unnecessarily. Second Point: They have our tel.#–when we are # 2 or 4; they can call us and tell us that Crew will be there in 5 or 10 hours.
    Time Warner does that –Why can’t NYSEG upgrade their CUSTOMER RESPONSE software.? I will help them FREE OF CHARGE. I have Ph.d. in Operations Research/information sytems from top university.

  4. In the engineering and technology professions, following any sort of cataclysmic disaster, catastrophe etc., we engage followup analyses accompanied later by a report under the theme “Lessons Learned”. (In my own experience these would include but not be limited to the missile attack and fire abourd the frigate USS Stark in the Persian Gulf in the 1980s, the terrorist attack on the destroyer USS Cole in 2000, along with several others). The point of this is, of course, we wish to know from experience:

    1 What went wrong
    2 What our response was
    3 Where was our response correct, helpful, restorative etc.
    4 Where was our response wrong, lacking, potentially causing more harm etc.
    5 What plans can we set in place for a similar catastrophe in the future
    6 How can we design structures, systems, communities, etc. to be more resilient against the conditions that cause similar disasters in the future
    7 How can we actually prevent similar disasters in the future

    Points 5, 6 and 7 are particularly crucial – and should have been top of mind in NYSEG’s corporate culture and emergency response planning in the year since the October snowstorm of 29 Oct. 2011, not to mention Hurricane Irene.

    NYSEG has once again failed the public and violated the community’s trust having failed to conduct and adopt these basic measures cited above. Their condemnation by State and local government officials is fair, accurate and well-desesrved, and they should be forbidden to continue in business following this third failure at storm recovery in 14 months.