Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is threatening to revoke PSEG Long Island and Con Edison state operating licenses, calling on both services to do what he called “a delightful job” following the aftermath of Isaiah Tropical Storm.
“This is a technical term – nice job,” Cuomo told a news conference Monday. “They weren’t prepared and didn’t anticipate what it would take to get back online quickly, and … there’s nothing new here.”
Cuomo said an ongoing investigation by the Public Service Commission could lead to fines, returns or worse for services.
He said it was “as serious as a heart attack. PSEG, you know your franchise could be revoked. And that̵7;s a real possibility,” Cuomo said.
PSEG chief operating officer Dan Eichhorn declined to comment on Cuomo’s threat to potentially revoke PSEG’s operating franchise in the state. Eichhorn said PSEG was talking to LIPA about the possibility of compensating customers for medicine and food lost as a result of the outages, although no final plan or decision on compensation has been reached.
Cuomo, who celebrated PSEG’s appointment after superstorm Sandy forced LIPA to find a new network manager, replacing National Grid, said he was disappointed with the company’s performance.
“There is no excuse to say, ‘Oh, well, everyone was stressed and the mutual assistance system’ for getting extra crews to help restore the interruption” was stretched thin. We know it will happen. “It is inevitable and this is what they are supposed to be preparing for.”
Cuomo also dealt with failures in service communications.
“It’s not an excuse to say, ‘We got bored of the calls,'” he said. “Of course the calls caught you. This is what happens after a storm and when the power is out.”
Cuomo said he told the Public Service Commission to be “as aggressive as the law will allow, because the New Yorkers are fed up. Especially Nassau and the areas within Con Ed’s jurisdiction. They are fed up and they are right.”
PSEG outages were split roughly 50-50 in Nassau and Suffolk, PSEG announced on its online map. Con Edison, who serves in New York City and some of its northern suburbs, has also struggled to restore strength after the storm.
The PSEG Long Island agreement to operate the regional network for LIPA is unusual given the status of LIPA as a state authority and PSEG as an investor-owned enterprise. Unlike all other investor-owned enterprises, neither LIPA nor PSEG are under the direct jurisdiction of the PSC, subject instead to an easier “recommendation” check by the State Public Service Department. .
PSEG has a long-term service contract with LIPA that gives the authorization the right to terminate the agreement under certain conditions, including “any failure or refusal” by PSEG to perform “any material obligation” under the contract. PSEG would have the right to “cure such a failure” under the contract, up to 60 days before LIPA could terminate it.