NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Con Edison and the Long Island Power Authority confirmed Wednesday they received subpoenas from the state attorney general and were cooperating with his investigation into their preparation for and response to Superstorm Sandy.
An official familiar with the investigation said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman seeks plans and performance records on restoring power, communicating with customers without power and other aspects of the utilities’ responses to the storm.
1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reports
The superstorm sapped electricity for more than 2 million New York customers alone and left many in the dark for more than two weeks.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been unrelenting in his criticism of the power companies and early last week, lambasted their 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.
Con Ed said it looked forward “to reviewing the company’s storm preparations and response with the attorney general and all interested parties.”
LIPA has reviewed the attorney general’s subpoena and intends to “comply with it in all respects,” spokeswoman Elizabeth Flagler said.
On Tuesday, LIPA chief executive Mike Hervey resigned after 12 years. A permanent CEO slot and several board seats have been vacant for months awaiting appointment by Cuomo.
Hervey defended LIPA’s response to the storm on Wednesday, calling Sandy “unprecedented.” The storm knocked out power to more than 1 million LIPA customers.
“This was a catastrophic storm,” he said. “This was bigger damage than what we would anticipate for a Category 1 or
possibly a Category 2 hurricane.”
Cuomo, however, has said LIPA is simply an outdated political entity he wants to overhaul and that National Grid, contracted by LIPA, is responsible for providing power to Long Island.
A spokeswoman for Schneiderman declined to comment.
The probe is separate from a commission created by Cuomo to investigate utilities involved in Sandy, which will undertake a “thorough review” of actions taken by power companies both before and after the storms.
The commission will also 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.
Schneiderman plans a broad look at the preparation and response to Sandy and a nor’easter that followed, the official said. The attorney general’s office has investigation powers and the power to enforce state laws including public service and consumer protection laws, which could provide greater latitude than the commission.
The official said Schneiderman is specifically looking into areas that include efforts to restore power, how well the companies communicated with customers without power, power line maintenance and the trimming of tree limbs near power lines and the loss of power distribution equipment and service at substations.
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