2 Long Island Hearings Set in NY Probe of Utilities’ Nor’easter Response

More than a foot of snow fell in four hours in Islip, NWS said.

New York State officials investigating utilities’ preparedness after four nor’easters last month—some of which left people without power for days—have scheduled two public hearings on Long Island to discuss the issue.

The state Department of Public Service (DPS) invites the public to make statements 1 to 6 p.m. Monday, April 16 at the Nassau County Legislature in Mineola and 3 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 17 at the Suffolk County Legislature in Smithtown.

“As part of this investigation, we will determine what went right, and what went wrong, and take action accordingly,” said DPS CEO John B. Rhodes. “Utilities must follow their utility response plans and failure to do so can result in financial penalties to shareholders.”

The hearings are two of 20 that will be held statewide as a part of an investigation into all seven major electric utilities across New York.

The state wants to hear how members of the public were affected, if they think they received timely, accurate and adequate information from their utility before, during and after the outage, and their overall impression to the response. Investigators also invite recommendations on how the response can be improved.

PSEG Long Island defended its performance.

“We are proud of our storm preparation and response during the March nor’easters, and extremely proud of our PSEG Long Island crews, customer service and support personnel who worked around the clock in challenging conditions to safely and quickly restore power to our customers,” the utility said in a statement. “We will continue to offer our full support and complete cooperation to this important investigation and look forward to the findings.”

The Nassau legislature is located at the Theodore Roosevelt Executive Building, 1550 Franklin Ave., Mineola. The Suffolk legislature is located at the William H. Rogers Building, 725 Veterans Memorial Hwy., Smithtown.

Individuals will be called to speak after completing a request card. Each public statement hearing will remain open for a minimum of one hour and will continue until everyone wishing to speak has been heard, officials said.

Those who cannot attend can provide comments to the department on its website at dps.ny.gov, by clicking on “Search,” and entering “18-00618” in the select “search by case number” field. In the open case, access the screen to enter comments by clicking on “Post Comments” box located at the top of the page. 

The public may submit comments via e-mail to Hon. Kathleen H. Burgess, Secretary, at [email protected]. Comments may also be mailed or delivered to Secretary Burgess at the New York State Department of Public Service, Three Empire State Plaza, Albany, New York 12223-1350. The public may also call the Department’s Opinion Line at 1-800-335-2120.  

Comments submitted are requested by Tuesday, May 22.  Comments should refer to “Matter 18-00618” and/or the “March 2018 Winter Storms Investigation.”