Governor Cuomo Makes Changes in the Aftermath of Major Storms

Following in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has implemented certain steps to help ensure that the state can better handle future major storms. These changes were made in the aftermath of major storms over the past two years, including the aforementioned Sandy, Hurricane Irene, and Tropical Storm Lee, according to www.governor.ny.gov.

Of primary importance is the mandate that utility companies operating in New York State revise their emergency response plans in reference to three main issues:

1. The ability to give more accurate Estimated Restoration Times, or ERTs

2. Improve the current mutual assistance process

3. An improved ability to respond to large-scale flooding.

In addition to these three issues, the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) has ordered utilities to address other areas of needed improvement, including:

  • Coordination of communication with area gas and telecommunication utilities
  • Describing how communications between electric utilities and telecommunication companies will be accomplished and the procedures that will be used to restore power for telecommunication companies by utilities
  • Provide procedures to track customers who receive flood damage to their own equipment
  • Develop procedures for municipal calls that use meeting agendas
  • Develop a procedure for the tracking and prioritizing of the repair of energized wires during a storm based on the potential of each for public harm
  • Determine a method to identify customer service representative staffing levels. These procedures include what triggers the need for third party vendor assistance during high-volume call levels.

All of the above changes in how New York’s large electrical utilities approach storm response are an attempt to improve the overall level of service, as well as the response time to such events. These actions follow recommendations made by the Moreland Commission on Utility Preparation and Response. A committee created specifically to examine the state of New York’s response to major storms over the past two years.


For more information about how New York has improved disaster recovery, visit: http://www.governor.ny.gov/press/08152013-emergency-and-storm-response-requirements