In Wake Of Blackout, Senate Deputy Leader Gianaris Renews Push For Laws Toughening Rules On Con Ed

Gianaris Legislation Eliminates Liability Protections When Negligence is Proven and Expands Audit Authority of the PSC

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris is renewing his push for tougher rules for electric and gas providers after Saturday’s blackout that left hundreds of thousands of Manhattan residents in the dark and the subway system in chaos.

“New Yorkers should be able to depend on reliable electricity and Con Ed does not deserve to be shielded when it is at fault,” said Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris. “While we await the investigation of Saturday’s blackout, we must advance policies that give New York’s consumers more power.”

Senator Gianaris’ wrote two bills which would address the imbalance of power between utility providers and their customers. The first (S.1284) would eliminate the current liability shield utility companies enjoy during service interruption, if utility negligence is proven. The second bill (S.1266) expands the scope of management audits the New York State Public Service Commission can perform on utility providers.

Saturday’s blackout cut power to thousands of customers throughout New York, causing Broadway productions to go dark and wreaking havoc on the subway system, with service interruptions being felt throughout the city. The cause of the blackout is under investigation with conflicting explanations provided by Con Edison. New York has had several major blackouts in the past 20 years, including in 2006 where 400,000 Queens residents were without power for 10 days.