State Assemblyman Sayegh Sponsors Utility Storm Response Improvement Legislation

Proposed $102.3 million Con Ed fine a good start, more needs to be done

Yonkers State Assemblyman Nader Sayegh supports the New York Public Service Commission staff recommendation that Con Ed be fined $102.3 Million for its inadequate response to outages in the wake of Tropical Storm Isaias but says more needs to be done. Sayegh has introduced a package of bills designed to force improvements in Con Ed’s storm outage response, as well as the storm outrage responses of Verizon and Altice.

“With climate change, Tropical Storms like Isaias and nor’easters like the one that hit Westchester December 16 are becoming more frequent, so New York must make sure the utility companies and the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC), which regulates utilities, improve how they respond to storm related outages,” said State Assemblyman Nader Sayegh (D-Yonkers). “Despite legislative hearings, State investigations and public outcry, the utilities have clearly not improved their storm response efforts. Therefore, I have introduced a package of bills to force change.”

Sponsored in the State Senate by Long Island Senator Anna M. Kaplan (D-7th Senate District), the legislation requires utilities to include communication planning in storm response plans, would allow residents to officially notify Con Ed about downed wires triggering a 36 hour response time, and requires customer discounts for extended cable, phone and internet outages. The package of bills follows:

  • A11015/S8929 Requires the emergency response plan of an electric corporation to include plans for how the communication and coordination of efforts shall occur
  • A11016/S8997 Relates to emergency response plans relating to downed wires
  • A11017/S8895 Requires electric companies to provide alternate measures to ensure customers with documented need for essential electricity of medical needs have access to electricity during power outages
  • A11018/S8892 Requires electric utilities to prioritize restoring service to police departments, fire departments and ambulance services when such services are interrupted
  • A11020/S8896 Provides a discount to consumers of certain utilities for failure to provide contracted services
  • A10988/S8893 Requires cell towers to be equipped with a back-up power source in case of a power outage

Assemblyman Sayegh is also submitting written testimony to the State Public Service Commission in support of the PSC staff recommendation that Con Edison be fined for its inadequate response to Tropical Storm Isaias last August. The PSC is accepting comments from Westchester residents on the proposed $102.3 million dollar fine. The storm brought heavy rain and wind gusts up to 70 miles per hour. Electric, phone, cable and internet outages followed. In the wake of the storm, Con Ed reported 93,281 customers without power in Westchester.