YORKTOWN, N.Y. - Sen. Terrence Murphy has asked the Public Service Commission (PSC) to replace NYSEG with different company after more power outages hit northern Westchester County last month.
In a letter to John Rhodes, chair of the Public Service Commission, Murphy said, “It is past time for your agency to reopen the franchise for this region to allow a capable power producer to take over.”
Some NYSEG customers experienced what Murphy said is the “10th outage of the year” late last month when rain soaked the region.
“The power was out, not because a tornado touched down, or a microburst devastated a neighborhood or a summertime nor’easter came through,” Murphy said. “The lights went out because it rained and the wind blew a bit.”
In January, Somers and North Salem banded together to file a formal complaint against NYSEG with the state Public Service Commission. More recently, Somers created a task force to monitor the power company.
NYSEG has announced planned upgrades for the region but Murphy said “the time to talk has passed.”
“People do not want to see another meaningless investigation by your agency resulting in lip service and empty promises,” Murphy wrote to Rhodes. “It is the responsibility of NYSEG to keep the lights on, and it is your job to make sure they do it.”
If Rhodes is “unable to unwilling to accomplish this,” Murphy wrote, he asked for an explanation “to know why New York State is not properly holding NYSEG accountable.”
Kevin Ortiz, a spokesperson for the utility company, said that NYSEG is committed to providing its customers with safe and reliable service.
“The company is actively working on a number of initiatives in our Brewster Division which encompasses parts of Westchester, Dutchess and Putnam counties,” he said. “These include tree trimming on a number of major circuits; distribution and transmission system inspections; replacement of insulators, poles conductors and other equipment; rebuilding or installing new equipment in substations; upgrading or installing automation devices; and installing more resilient poles, cable, hardware and system protectors. These projects are all in progress.”
In addition, Ortiz said NYSEG’s parent company, AVANGRID, announced a comprehensive $2.5 billion resiliency plan called Transforming Energy to address the impact severe storms have on infrastructure throughout AVANGRID’s utilities’ service territories including NYSEG. The plan includes measures that will harden the power grid to better withstand storms.
“We are committed to meeting our customers’ expectations and will work closely with the PSC and elected officials to ensure our plan advances that objective,” Ortiz said.