Mayor Don Brudie suggests utility company is not fully to blame.
Days following Hurricane Sandy, Gov. Andrew Cuomo
issued a stern warning to public utilities, saying the state
would hold the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) and others responsible if they were not adequately
prepared for the superstorm
Cuomo launched a statewide commission to hold the state's utilities accountable for their performance.
Cuomo's commission, which will have the power to subpoena and examine
witnesses under oath, will probe the preparation and management of
state utilities in the wake of recent major weather events such as
Sandy, Tropical Storm Irene and Tropical Strom Lee in 2011, which caused
disastrous flooding in upstate New York.
The commission will then make recommendations to reform a system that is
already plagued with operational overlaps between the New York Power
Authority, LIPA, the Public Service Commission and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority
, according to Cuomo's office.
Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice will be the only Long Islander on the commission.
Trustee Dennis Donnelly suggested the board ask the governor to look at all the things the utility companies did wrong through his newly appointed commission.
"I think the committee should look at what other utility companies in the 50 states do because it seems to me that when the CEO of LIPA gets on radio and TV the day before the nor'easter and says 'as a result of the coming storm 40,000 or 50,000 customers will go out of service' That's unacceptable," he said. "That's an infrastructure that obviously doesn't work."
Donnelly added, "When you look at Minnestoa, Michigan, Montana, or any states on the northern tier west of New York, every time they have a storm they don't see the amount of customers we lose on Long Island. I know we are denser than most places but there has to be technology .... this commission ought to take a look at that and come back to Long Island to say what we should be doing."
Mayor Don Brudie suggested that perhaps the finger shouldn't be pointed at LIPA.
"It's easy to criticize LIPA. I criticized them. I argued with
them on the phone," he said. "But really, think about it. Nobody, no corporation
in the country, would have been prepared to handle this devastation. It
was everywhere. It wasn't in one local area. Can LIPA be prepared and
know this particular pole is going to come down or this group of poles?
This was just a weird storm."
He complimented the sanity of the people of Garden City. "It was a very difficult situation ...
I only had a few irate callers asking 'what are you doing about LIPA?' Like we
had control over LIPA. We had no control over them. I was out as long as
you people were out. We were in this together and we worked through
Trustee Laurence Quinn noted that Cuomo appoints LIPA's trustees, a 15-member board which currently has five vacancies," he said. "I'm sort of interested to see how well he separated himself from the LIPA fiasco considering he's the one responsible for many of the trustees sitting on that board," he added.
LIPA defended its storm response and vow to continue working around the
clock until all customers are restored. Many in Garden City were without power for
an average of eight days, others 12 to 13 days, while some are still out
as of 3 p.m. Tuesday.
In the midst of all the chaos, LIPA Chief Operating Officer Michael Hervey resigned, effective the end of 2012. TELL US: Do you think LIPA was solely to blame? Let us know in the comments section below.
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