Public Statement Hearings Scheduled for March 2018 Winter Storms
Governor Cuomo Directed Investigation Into Utilities’ Preparation and Response to Storms Which Resulted In Over 590,000 Outages
ALBANY — The New York State Department of Public Service (Department) today announced it will hold 20 public statement hearings to receive public comment regarding the preparedness and response, of all seven major electric utilities in New York, to the March 2018 Winter Storms.
Between March 2 and March 14, 2018, two severe storms caused widespread power outages for more than 590,000 New Yorkers, some for as long as 10 days. The Department is investigating the preparedness and response of Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation, Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc., Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation d/b/a National Grid, New York State Electric & Gas Corporation, Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc., PSEG Long Island, LLC, and Rochester Gas & Electric Corporation.
As part of this investigation, the Department will conduct public statement hearings so that affected utility customers may present public comments in response to the following questions:
How were you affected by the outages?
Do you think you received timely, accurate and adequate information from your utility company about what was happening before, during and after the service outages?
What are your overall impressions about how your utility responded to the outages?
What were your reasons for those impressions?
Did you attempt to contact your utility for information or assistance immediately before, during or after the outages, and did you get the response you were requesting?
What are your recommendations about actions you believe your utility should or should not have taken before, during and after the service outages?
What actions do you recommend the Department take in light of all that you know regarding these events?
Each hearing will be preceded by a short presentation by Department Staff who will explain the investigatory process. Because the investigation is ongoing, Staff will not be able to comment on any findings at this stage. The opportunities for public comment will be held, as follows:
Greene Monday, April 16, 2018
Public Statement Hearings - 2:00 PM and 6:00 PM Athens Volunteer Fire Department
Athens, NY 12015
Columbia Tuesday, April 17, 2018
Public Statement Hearings - 2:00 PM and 6:00 PM
Columbia Greene Community College
Art Center Theater Room 500
4400 State Route 23
Hudson, NY 12534
Those wishing to comment will have an opportunity to make a statement on the record at the public statement hearings. It is not necessary to make an appointment in advance, or to present written material to speak at the hearing. Persons 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 or other reasonable arrangements have been made to include their comments in the record. A verbatim transcript of the hearing will be made for inclusion in the record of this matter.
Persons with disabilities requiring special accommodations should call the Department's Human Resources Management Office at (518) 474-2520 as soon as possible. Telecommunication Relay Service users may request a sign language interpreter by placing a call through the New York Relay Service at 711. Individuals with difficulty understanding or reading English are encouraged to call the Department at 1-800-342-3377 for free language assistance services regarding this notice.
Other Ways to Comment
For those who cannot attend or prefer not to speak at a public statement hearing, there are several other ways to provide comments to the Department. Comments should refer to “Matter 18-00618” and/or the “March 2018 Winter Storms Investigation.”
Via Internet, by E-mail, or by Mail: Comments may be entered directly into the matter file by locating the matter via the home page of the Department’s website at http://www.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. Many libraries offer free internet service.
The public may submit comments via e-mail to Hon. Kathleen H. Burgess, Secretary, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, comments may 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.
Toll-Free Opinion Line: You may call the Department's Opinion Line at 1-800-335-2120. This number is set up to take comments about pending cases from in-State callers, 24 hours a day. These comments are not transcribed verbatim, but a summary is provided to the Department.
Comments submitted via alternate means are requested by Tuesday, May 22, 2018. Comments will become part of the record and be reported to the Department for its consideration. Comments submitted in writing have the same weight and will be considered equally with those made orally at the public hearings.