New York

Here’s a Somewhat Threatening Letter Andrew Cuomo Sent To Utility CEOs

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Nearly 600,000 New Yorkers still are without power after Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the Big Apple earlier this week, and Governor Andrew Cuomo appears to be a little pissed off.

The governor sent a letter to the CEOs and presidents of seven utility companies telling them — in no uncertain terms — that he plans to hold them accountable for their preparation (or lack thereof) for the storm, which he apparently thinks is the reason so many people still are without electricity.

“If you failed to prepare, however, as evidenced by your response, it is a
failure to keep your part of the bargain – a failure to keep the trust
that New Yorkers have placed in you by granting you the privilege to
conduct utility business in New York State; in particular, the
certificates of public convenience and necessity (“Certificate”) granted
by the State under the Public Service Law,” Cuomo says in his letter. “New Yorkers should not
suffer because electric utilities did not reasonably prepare for this
eventuality. In the context of the ongoing emergency, such a failure
constitutes a breach of the public trust.”

See Cuomo’s letter below.

November 1, 2012

Mr. Kevin Burke, Chief Executive Officer

Consolidated Edison Co. of New York, Inc.

4 Irving Place

New York, NY 10003-3598

Mr. William Longhi, President & Chief Executive Officer

Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc.

One Blue Hill Plaza

Pearl River, NY 10965

Mr. James Laurito, President & Chief Executive Officer

Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp.

284 South Avenue

Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

Mr. Mark S. Lynch, President

Rochester Gas & Electric Corp. & New York State Electric & Gas Corp.

89 East Avenue

Rochester, NY 14649

Mr. Ken Daly, Chief Operating Officer

National Grid – NY

One Metro Tech Center

Brooklyn, NY 11201

Mr. Thomas B. King, President

National Grid, USA

201 Jones Road – 5th Fl.

Waltham, MA 02451-1120

Mr. Michael Hervey, Chief Operating Officer

Long Island Power Authority

333 Earle Ovington Blvd., Suite 403

Uniondale, NY 11553

Dear Gentlemen:

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, New Yorkers are faced with responding to its continued harsh impacts on literally every facet of life. I recognize there are men and women in the field now working hard to restore service, and we are grateful for their efforts. But it is your job to provide them with adequate resources and support to get the job done in a timely and safe manner. Utilities, like elected officials, are vested with the public’s trust. In the case of utilities, in exchange for conducting business and generating profits for their shareholders, they are entrusted to provide safe and adequate utility service. When they fail to keep the public’s trust, they must answer.

Because we had several days’ notice of an event of catastrophic proportions, State and local government and New Yorkers prepared for an impending storm. Indeed, the public depended on utilities to prepare for such an event, respond to emergencies and to return, as quickly as possible, to providing safe and adequate electricity. The response of your companies to this emergency will be, in great part, a function of how well you prepared for it and a testament to how seriously you view this responsibility.

If you failed to prepare, however, as evidenced by your response, it is a failure to keep your part of the bargain – a failure to keep the trust that New Yorkers have placed in you by granting you the privilege to conduct utility business in New York State; in particular, the certificates of public convenience and necessity (“Certificate”) granted by the State under the Public Service Law. New Yorkers should not suffer because electric utilities did not reasonably prepare for this eventuality. In the context of the ongoing emergency, such a failure constitutes a breach of the public trust.

Under such circumstances, I would direct the Public Service Commission to commence a proceeding to revoke your Certificates. With respect to the Long Island Power Authority, I will make every change necessary to ensure it lives up to its public responsibility. It goes without saying that such failures would warrant the removal of the management responsible for such colossal misjudgments.

Sincerely,

ANDREW M. CUOMO

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