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Cuomo Gives Subpoena Power To Commission Investigating Utility Companies

Governor Puts Teeth Behind Probe Aimed At Reforming 'Dysfunctional System'
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, LIPA Crews (credit: CBS 2)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, LIPA Crews (credit: CBS 2)

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Superstorm Sandy

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, an outspoken critic of the state’s utility companies in the days following Superstorm Sandy, has launched an investigation aimed at ensuring a better response to future storms.

Cuomo signed an executive order Tuesday establishing a commission that will be tasked with investigating the response, preparation and management of New York’s power companies.

The investigation will not only encompass Hurricane Sandy, but also responses to Tropical Storm Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.

In addition to undertaking a “thorough review” of actions taken by power companies both before and after the storms, the commission will be making “specific recommendations to reform and modernize oversight, regulation and management of New York’s power delivery services,” according to a release from the governor’s office.

Also important to note, the commission will have the power to subpoena and examine witnesses under oath.

Cuomo has been unrelenting in his criticism of companies, including Con Edison and the Long Island Power Authority.

Early last week, the governor lambasted the utilities’ response as “unacceptable.”

“To say that I am angry, to say that I am frustrated, disappointed, would be the understatement of the decade,” Cuomo said last week.

“As evidenced by Hurricane Sandy, the existing labyrinth of regulatory bodies, state agencies and authorities, and quasi-governmental bodies has contributed to a dysfunctional utility system,” the release went on to say.

The executive order signed by Cuomo states that “Every State department, agency, office, division, board, bureau, council, authority and public benefit corporation shall cooperate with the Commission” and “shall furnish such information and assistance” as determined by the commission in order to do its job.

The ten member commission includes former New York Attorney General Robert Abrams, Department of Financial Services Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky and Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice.

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