(The following press release from the New York State Governor's Office was
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State of New York | Executive Chamber
Andrew M. Cuomo | Governor
For Immediate Release: August 15, 2013
GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES STRENGTHENED EMERGENCY AND STORM RESPONSE REQUIREMENTS
Public Service Commission Enacts Reforms from Moreland Commission Report
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the New York State Public Service
Commission (PSC) has taken several critically important steps to substantially
improve and strengthen the performance of New York’s large electric utilities
during and after major storm events. These actions stem from recommendations
made by the Moreland Commission on Utility Storm Preparation and Response,
instituted by Governor Cuomo to investigate the electric utilities’ management,
preparation and response to the major storms that have affected New York State
over the past two years, including Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene and
Tropical Storm Lee.
“From our experience with extreme weather these last few years, it is clear
that New York State’s electric utilities need to improve their preparation and
response for future storms and emergencies,” Governor Cuomo said. “The
investigation by the Moreland Commission on Utility Storm Preparation and
Response identified many ways that the state’s utilities can do just that.
Today’s actions by the Public Service Commission will build upon the efforts
already underway to protect our residents and businesses from future
significant storm-related outages, and ensure that utilities are held
accountable during these events.”
The PSC ordered the six major investor-owned utilities operating in New York
State, as part of their revised emergency response plans due on December 15,
2013, to implement reforms to three main issues identified in the Moreland
Commission’s final report, including:
· Electric utilities should improve their development and timely issuance of
localized estimated restoration times (ETRs).
· Electric utilities need to engage in an industry-wide effort to address
deficiencies in the current mutual assistance process.
· Electric utilities need defined procedures for responding to large-scale
“The provision of safe and reliable electricity is critical to the health and
security of New Yorkers,” said PSC Chairman Garry Brown. “To fulfill this
important obligation, utilities must appropriately respond to emergencies. The
actions we are taking today will help ensure that utilities are adequately
prepared to respond to emergency events, and that they respond appropriately to
the challenge of restoring service promptly and efficiently.”
In addition to utility-specific recommendations put forth by the Moreland
Commission, the PSC today ordered utilities to address a number of other
recommendations in their electric emergency plans, some already implemented,
· Coordinate communications with gas utilities and telecommunication companies.
· Include procedures for coordinating electric restoration with each
telecommunications company’s restoration efforts during major storm events.
Plans must describe the method and the means that will be used to communicate
with telecommunications companies.
· Require each electric utility to provide more detailed procedures to track
customers who experience flood damage to customer-owned electric equipment.
· Incorporate municipal call procedures, including the use of meeting agendas,
used during events.
· Direct electric utilities to identify how energized wires are to be tracked
and prioritized during an active storm and in what priority repair work related
to down energized wires will be performed post storm, taking into account the
potential for public harm.
· Clearly identify the methodology used to determine customer service
representative staffing levels. Emergency plans must also contain detailed call
center performance objectives and goals including the triggers and parameters
for activating and use of third party vendor assistance in handling increased
Governor Cuomo’s 2013-14 State Budget enacted significantly more stringent
assessment and overview of utility activity requirements in New York. As a
result, the PSC is now required to approve electric emergency response plans
filed annually by electric corporations every December, and specifies subject
areas to be covered in the emergency response plans. To ensure compliance with
newly strengthened laws and regulations, the PSC now has the ability to
initiate a civil penalty proceeding in situations where a utility has failed to
file or properly implement a storm plan.
In order to protect residents and businesses throughout the current storm
system, many efforts to improve utility storm preparation and response have
been underway for several months. Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, the
utilities have already initiated a process to improve the mutual assistance
protocols, many of the flood restoration procedures have been incorporated into
the plans, and improvements are underway.
Specifically, last February, PSC staff directed the utilities to describe in
detail the specific temporary and permanent measures the companies were taking
to harden energy distribution systems against future storm damage in
preparation for this year’s hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to
PSC staff also directed the utilities to incorporate flood restoration
procedures; pre-emptive power shutdown procedures; improvements in social
media; completion of Irene, Lee, October snowstorm recommendations; and
implementation of company lessons learned from Superstorm Sandy.
In addition, last month, PSC staff provided additional direction to the
utilities designed to improve mutual assistance protocols; improve
identification and contacts for all telecommunication companies within each
utilities' service territory; improve coordination with local officials; and
refine utility-specific wires down procedures.
In April, Governor Cuomo unveiled a new utility ‘scorecard’ as a way to hold
utilities accountable for power restorations after a significant outage using a
quantitative assessment of electric utility performance, as part of the State’s
efforts for more aggressive review and evaluation of utilities following
Superstorm Sandy. The scorecard will help establish standards to promote
effective emergency preparation and response by utilities in the restoration of
power to their communities. Holding utilities accountable to such standards
will ensure that they have the ability, capacity, and mindset to act quickly
and effectively. The utilities will be reporting under the refined scorecard
while further improvements are made.
Additional news available at www.governor.ny.gov
New York State | Executive Chamber | firstname.lastname@example.org | 518.474.8418
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