Residents sound off on utility companies’ nor’easter responses

Posted: Updated:

The first of several public safety meetings for residents to address local utilities' response to a series of March nor'easters convened in Ramapo Tuesday.

The New York State Department of Public Service announced it will hold 20 public safety hearings on the issue. The meetings are intended to give neighbors who were left without power the chance to comment on how the utility companies handled the damage.

The information from the meetings will be part of the Gov. Andrew Cuomo's investigation into the preparedness and response time of the major utility companies, such as Con Edison, NYSEG, and Orange and Rockland. 

Westchester County Executive George Latimer was one of the first to voice his displeasure.

"It is time for them to look realistically and say, did we rise to the occasion that week in March? Were they there for our residents? Were they there interacting with local officials to get power back on sooner?" Latimer asked.

The two biggest storms between March 2 and March 14 left almost 600,000 New Yorkers without power for up to 10 days.

"The winter went pretty good until March. Then we had four nor'easters in a row. Not the best for anybody," said Orange & Rockland Utilities spokeperson Mike Donovan.

Town of Ramapo Supervisor Michael Specht said he would like to see Orange and Rockland Utilities institute reforms for better customer service and communication to customers.

Town of Cortlandt Supervisor Linda Puglisi chimed in, saying that in her decades of service, Con Ed has always been slow to restore power, and nothing has changed.

"Break up Con Edison," said Puglisi. "Break it up. I said it then. I'm saying it today."

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