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Legislation to Hold Utilities Accountable for Failure to Effectively Respond to Power Outages in NY

Legislation Will Increase Current Legal Limits on Penalties and Create Streamlined Process for Revocation of a Utility's Operating Certificate for Recurring Failures

Requires Utilities to Clearly Communicate with Customers During Outages and Give Accurate Information Regarding Power Restoration

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo yesterday announced he will propose legislation to hold utilities accountable for failures to effectively respond to future power outages. In response to the unacceptable performance of multiple electric and telecom service providers during tropical storm Isaias, the legislation will increase the current legal limits on penalties and create a streamlined process for revocation of a utility's operating certificate for recurring failures.

"The response by the utility companies to Isaias was unacceptable and it's even worse that they continue to have such problems during storms and in the aftermath. We know these storms are going to happen. We don't pay for utilities to function on a nice day, the essence of what we pay for is be ready for a storm -- give me information when my power goes out and get it back on quickly," 

Governor Cuomo said

"The laws are too protective of the utility companies and that has to change. I am proposing legislation that will create penalties that are significant and will force utilities to change their behavior. The bill will also create a faster revocation process so that if they're not providing that service then we will find someone else who can and do it quickly. We must pass this new law and do it right away." 

Currently, penalties related to reliability and continuity of electric service, including restoration following a major outage or event, start at $100,000 or .02 of 1% of annual intrastate gross operating revenue, whichever is greater, for each separate and distinct offense. Penalties rise to $500,000 or .04 of 1%, whichever is greater, for combo gas and electric utilities in the restoration of electric service following a major outage event or emergency. 


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