At its peak, Hurricane Irene’s sustained high winds and heavy rains, which began August 28,
caused significant flash flooding and uprooting of trees that left nearly a million New York
utility customers without power. Shortly thereafter, on September 4 through September 9,
Tropical Storm Lee brought heavy rains and major flooding in the Southern Tier and other parts
of the state already saturated from Hurricane Irene.
Due to the extended length of outages (i.e., more than 3 days), Commission regulation 16
NYCRR Part 105, Electric Utility Emergency Plan, requires the electric utilities to perform an
internal performance review and submit their finds to the Commission within 60 days following
the completion of service restoration. Reports concerning response to Hurricane Irene and
Tropical Storm Lee will be due in mid-November.
Staff will be performing its review to determine if the utilities responded appropriately, and to
identify whether improvements can be made from the “lessons learned” during the event.
Additionally, staff will review telecommunications companies’ assessment of storm damages,
restoration of service and steps to be taken to prevent future outages, as well as customer refunds
for out-of-service periods.
Staff’s assessment of the electric utilities’ performance in responding to these storms will be
based on a combination of factors, including: a thorough review of the self-assessment reports
filed by the electric utilities, as required by the Commission’s regulations, discussions and
interviews with public officials, evaluation of complaint data filed with the Commission’s Office
of Consumer Services, and public comments.
Public comments can be submitted via the Commission’s toll-free Opinion Line at 1-800-335-
2120; the Internet at Secretary@dps.ny.gov; or by mail to Honorable Kathleen H. Burgess,
Secretary, New York State Public Service Commission, Three Empire State Plaza, Albany, New
York 12223. Please mention Case 11-M-0481 in your comments.
Staff’s assessment, when issued, will be available for public comment and may be obtained by using this link.
Also, staff’s assessment, when available, may be obtained from the Commission’s Files Office,
14th floor, Three Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY 12223 (518-474-2500).
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