SENATOR BALL DEMANDS INVESTIGATION AND LEGISLATION FOLLOWING SLOW STORM RESPONSE BY FOREIGN-OWNED UTILITY

 

     

    Yorktown Heights, N.Y. – (11/04/11) – Senator Greg Ball (R, C – Patterson), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs, today was joined by elected leaders from throughout the Hudson Valley, calling for an investigation into the slow response time by NYSEG following last weekend’s Nor’easter. In addition to holding a hearing to examine the root of the problem at NYSEG, Chairman Ball is also introducing legislation that would prohibit a foreign-owned company from operating utility services in New York State.

    “This is not a third-world country,” said Chairman Ball. “These companies need to begin to more immediately respond to abandoned customers, struggling for basic answers and information. It is unacceptable for our utility companies to be owned by foreign companies. This begs for an independent hearing and investigation into slow response times and vulnerability of our infrastructure,” added Ball.

    Senator Ball has introduced a bill S5304A which prohibits a foreign based person, corporation or entity from owning an electric corporation. Senator Ball will also be holding a hearing in Albany regarding the storm response.

    New York State Assemblyman Steve Katz said, “I fully support this investigation and legislation.  When our own economy is struggling to move forward New York allows a foreign company to take over one of our power providers and simply fail us when we needed it most.  For nearly a week I have been traveling across my district only to hear more horror stories of people being left without power for days.  Now after this second incident, which occurred just a few short months since Hurricane Irene, we must closely examine NYSEG’s procedures and hold it accountable for the people we represent.”

    Yorktown Councilman, Dr. Terrence Murphy said, “NYSEG has simply failed its customers.  As a small business owner I know about the importance of taking care of your clients.  The delayed response from NYSEG is simply unacceptable, especially for our most vulnerable citizens such as our seniors. We now have two case studies we can examine to identify exactly how NYSEG can improve its response time of restoring power for our residents.”

    In September 2008, Iberdrola S.A., an energy company based in Spain, bought the parent company of two Upstate New York utilities — New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG) and Rochester Gas & Electric. Since then, customers of NYSEG have noticed a progressive degradation in quality and service from their utility provider.

    In August 2011, NYSEG’s inability to respond during times of crisis was exposed following Hurricane Irene. At the time, 130,000 NYSEG customers lost power, and many were forced to wait weeks for electricity to be restored. In addition to the company’s slow response, critics also blasted the company for not adequately communicating with customers.

    Lewisboro Supervisor Charlie Duffy said, “Lewisboro still has over 1,000 homes out which makes up for almost 50% of the current outages in Westchester. We need NYSEG to know they need to answer to our residents. The difference between this and Irene is a 60 degree temperature drop. I would like to thank State Senator Greg Ball who came to town to help get the word out that Lewisboro needs a response from NYSEG.

    “The biggest problem was the lack of information,” said Larry Cassidy Yorktown resident. “Everybody told you something different and no one seemed to know what was going on,” added Cassidy.

    For more information or to speak with Senator Ball, please contact Ali Skinner: (845) 200-9716.