Moreland Commission to turn attention to upstate utilities
The commission set up by Governor Andrew Cuomo to examine the response of the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) has recommended privatizing the entity to improve decision making, and provide better value to customers through investor-owned rate structures.
In its first presentation since it was convened, the Moreland Commission on Utility Storm Preparation and Response returned a scathing finding of failures by the leadership of LIPA, leading to the long delays in the restoration of utilities on Long Island NY following Superstorm Sandy.
Commissioners cited catastrophic communication failures and the absence of information, while at the same time acknowledging the long hours worked by field crews who tried to restore services to customers.
A lack of authority vested in elected local officials was also highlighted as a reason for slow response times in New York’s Nassau and Suffolk counties.
Commission member and President of Clarkson University, Tony Collins, signaled that the Commission would now turn its attention to upstate utility companies to examine their storm preparedness and response planning. He indicated that providers in western New York and the North Country would come under similar scrutiny. The governor stressed that solutions put forward by the commission would apply to the whole state.
Governor Cuomo providing closing remarks: “This dovetails nicely with what we heard from the Ready and Response Commission. This is exactly what we needed. I think we have what we need for State of the State,” an address he will deliver Wednesday.
Cuomo was also critical of the oversight system and the Public Service Commission (PSC), saying that the system was ‘skewed’ in favor of the electricity companies.
“The structure of LIPA didn’t work, the structure of the PSC didn’t work. This relationship has to be restructured.”