(New City, NY) In response to the outcry of frustration from residents regarding the O&R power outages, Senator David Carlucci, Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee , Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski and Clarkstown Supervisor Alex Gromack called for a public forum with O&R, the Public Service Commission and local officials.
“This is the second time in only a few short months that residents in Rockland County have had to deal with power outages, this one being particularly worrisome due to the cold temperatures and the time span of the outage,” Senator David Carlucci said. “Obviously, O&R cannot predict when a storm is going to hit, however, there is an apparent lack of preparedness in vegetation maintenance to keep power lines clear, in the deployment of crews in the aftermath of a storm as well as in their ability to effectively communicate with customers. Clearly there are grounds for improvement because the current emergency preparedness plans are not working.”
"The number of Rockland ratepayers still left in the dark, whether through lost power or lack of communication, is of great concern," said Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee. "In just one instance of many, 65 residents of a senior community I represent have been powerless since Saturday. Our residents cannot afford, and most cannot endure another outage this severe, and we must do everything in our power to prevent it from ever happening again."
“First and foremost we need to do everything possible to make sure every possible person is working to restore power to the thousands of Rocklanders still in the dark,” Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski said. “Furthermore, the public deserves a comprehensive review of all aspects of the preparation and response to this storm. It is obvious that major improvements in communication need to take place, however, it is also imperative that we review the mobilization of work crews to ascertain where improvements should have been made and can be made for the future. “
“Orange and Rockland's lack of response to this recent storm is nothing short of outrageous," said Supervisor Alex Gromack. "The fact that several days--Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday-- passed without a significant presence of repair crews in Clarkstown is simply not acceptable. Orange and Rockland's righteous indignation in asking for a rate increase is simply adding insult to injury--we deserve a rebate, not an increase. Our residents deserve better, and the New York State Public Service Commission needs to hold O&R accountable and insure that the public is protected and receives the service they deserve and, in fact, pay for.”