Department of Public Service cites PSEGLI for Isaias response, utility called to forfeit $10M bonus

The department sent a Notice of Apparent Violation to four electric providers, including PSEG Long Island. A notice was also issued to Con Edison, Central Hudson, Orange & Rockland Utilities and cable/internet provider Altice-Optimum.

News 12 Staff

Aug 19, 2020, 9:03 PM

Updated 1,335 days ago

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New York's Department of Public Service has completed the first phase of its investigation into utility preparation and restoration in the wake of Isaias, with PSEGLI named for violations, alongside other area providers.
The department sent a Notice of Apparent Violation to four electric providers, including PSEG Long Island. A notice was also issued to Con Edison, Central Hudson, Orange & Rockland Utilities and cable/internet provider Altice-Optimum, the parent company of News 12.
The companies now face penalties and have been ordered to take corrective actions.
The DPS has called on PSEGLI to forfeit its incentive compensation for the year, which totals to about $10 million.
The DPS cited PSEGLI for "a failure of its outage management system, inaccurate communications and problems with its call center."
Cuomo continued to say he has the ability to terminate PSEGLI's contract with LIPA, if deemed necessary.
State Sen. Todd Kaminsy praised DPS' quick movement, and thinks taking away the PSEG bonus is the right move.
"Between PSEG and LIPA, their executives are paid very handsomely while the average ratepayers that fund them are not, and are suffering in the dark," says Kaminsky.
Altice released a statement, saying, "Altice takes very seriously our responsibility and commitment to provide high-quality telecommunications services to our customers, and we will cooperate with the Commission on these matters."
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The state Senate will be holding a public hearing on the storm response Thursday.
Cuomo also says he is directing the Department of Financial Services to work with DPS to enhance its review of these utilities and to better hold them accountable.
"The response to Tropical Storm Isaias by the electric utilities was completely unacceptable. Fifteen days later and we are still hearing complaints from families and businesses," Cuomo said. "With many weeks remaining in the hurricane season, we do not have the luxury of time — utilities must act immediately to fix their broken storm response."
At the height of Isaias, over 420,000 PSEG Long Island customers were in the dark, while Cuomo says about 1.3 million statewide suffered outages.
A news release provided a list of remedies the state is seeking from utilities:
- Add crewing capacity via retainer contracts from private contractors or utilities located outside of New York, with a goal to be able to secure in advance of a storm double the level of internal linemen and tree crews.
- Test capabilities at all command centers, call centers and back-up command centers to ensure capability to handle an event that affects 90% or more of their customers in their service territory and provide confirmation back to the department regarding the results of this test within 10 days.
- Refine coordination plans with municipalities tailored to each county (road clearing, local liaisons, etc.) and provide to the Department within 20 days a written confirmation from each county Emergency Operations Center that they understand and accept the plan.
- Update life support equipment and critical infrastructure lists to remove or add customers as identified during Tropical Storm Isaias and file such updated lists to the department within 10 days.


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