NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Two of New York’s biggest utility companies are facing a record fine.

The $10.75 million joint settlement relates to back-to-back winter storms that hammered the area in March 2018.

Nearly 300,000 customers with Con Edison and Orange & Rockland Utilities were left in the dark.

The state’s Public Service Commission says both companies admitted to violating their emergency response plans.

Westchester County Executive George Latimer called Con Ed’s recent handling of Tropical Storm Isaias “a repeat of March 2018.”

“Con Edison’s performance in the aftermath of Hurricane Isaias was grossly deficient. The Governor, the New York State Public Service Commission, elected officials of both parties at every level and the customers themselves all recognize that failure. Con Ed was simply not ready- a repeat of March 2018 – to provide the necessary manpower to cut and clear wires and to restore power in a timely fashion. It cannot be acceptable to take a week or more to fully restore power, and in this case, from a storm that was not of the magnitude of Hurricane Irene or Superstorm Sandy. This tells us the utility is simply not staffed up to handle storms; it tells us the profitability of the company is based on carrying staff insufficient to handle any significant weather incident,” he said in a statement Friday.

“Westchester residents have time and again been underserved precisely in the moment when they most need that service. They need and deserve a service provider that outs service to the public ahead of any other consideration.

“Now, it is up to the State to use its regulatory authority to right this wrong, and mandate that the utility provide sufficient manpower and equipment that can, during the next hurricane, bring speedy relief to Westchester residents.”

It’s unclear how the settlement could affect customer rates moving forward.

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  1. James S says:

    Why did we losse power in the storm? My neighbors don’t take care of their trees!

    Suburban trees are expensive to maintain and many are not healthy. Lack of suburban arboculture leads to sick, weak, and large trees on private property which are extremely prone to damage during storms.

    How is this a utility comapany’s fault? We shouldn’t be blaming the utility companies, we should be blamming local, county, and state politicians for failing to see the problem and risk of old suburban trees, and have them act appropriately.

    I challange the Mayors, County Executives, and Govenors to address the public safety hazard(s) due to lack of governence on property owners to maintain their properties – in this case their high hazard trees. If you want to place blame….. blame those who cause/contribute to the problem, not the utilities which have to cleanup the (avoidable) mess!

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