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New York Gov. Cuomo establishes commission to investigate outages


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New York's governor, Andrew Cuomo, signed an executive order yesterday that sets up a commission to investigate how the Long Island Power Authority and other electric utilities have prepared for and handled the major storms that have hit the state in the past two years.

"From Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee, to Hurricane Sandy, over the past two years New York has experienced some of the worst natural disasters in our state's history," Cuomo said. "As we adjust to the reality of more frequent major weather incidents, we must study and learn from these past experiences to prepare for the future."

The commission "will be tasked to undertake a thorough review of all actions taken by the power companies before and after these emergencies, and make specific recommendations to reform and modernize oversight, regulation and management of New York's power delivery services," said Cuomo's office in a Nov. 13 news release. The 10-member commission, which will be headed by former state Attorney General Robert Abrams,  will have the power to subpoena and examine witnesses under oath, the governor's office said.

The commission's mandate "includes examining and making recommendations to reform the overlapping responsibilities and missions" of LIPA, the New York Power Authority, the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority, and the Public Service Commission, the governor's office said. "As evidenced by Hurricane Sandy, the existing labyrinth of regulatory bodies, state agencies and authorities, and quasi-governmental bodies has contributed to a dysfunctional utility system," Cuomo's office said. —JEANNINE ANDERSON

 

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