Following a chorus of boos over the Long Island Power Authority's management of the Superstorm Sandy recovery, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday launched a statewide commission to hold the state's utilities accountable for their performance.
Cuomo's commission, which will have the power to subpoena and examine witnesses under oath, will probe the preparation and management of state utilities in the wake of recent major weather events such as Sandy, Tropical Storm Irene and Tropical Strom Lee in 2011, which caused disastrous flooding in upstate New York.
The commission will then make recommendations to reform a system that is already plagued with operational overlaps between the New York Power Authority, LIPA, the Public Service Commission and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, according to Cuomo's office.
"From Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee, to Hurricane Sandy, over the past two years New York has experienced some of the worst natural disasters in our state's history," Cuomo said in a statement. “As we adjust to the reality of more frequent major weather incidents, we must study and learn from these past experiences to prepare for the future.”
Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice will be the only Long Islander on the commission, whose other members include former state attorney general Robert Abrams, state financial services superintendent Benjamin Lawsky, PSC chair Peter Bradford, Clarkson University president Tony Collins, former NYPA chair John Dyson, senior pastor of Greater Allen African Methodist Episcopal Cathedral Rev. Floyd Flake, former New York City public advocate Mark Green, Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney and Tishman Construction Corp. CEO Dan Tishman.
Cuomo has already called the response of the state's utilities to massive outages wrought by Sandy a failure.