Skoufis legislation to address outages

Legislation. State Sen. James Skoufis introduced a bill to require utilities to advise customers of their estimaated restoration time within 36 hours of a power outage. He said Orange & Rockland’s and Central Hudson’s strategic teams was slow and occasionally inaccurate.

12 Aug 2020 | 04:39

Senator James Skoufis ) announced he is introducing new legislation that requires utilities advise customers of their estimated restoration time within 36 hours of a power outage.

He thanked and lauded the hardworking men and women who have been repairing lines, clearing trees, and rebuilding substations, but Skoufis argued communication from O&R’s and Central Hudson’s strategic teams was slow and occasionally inaccurate. O&R customers, for example, did not receive local estimated restoration times until over 48 hours following the storm.

“Being provided a little peace of mind as to when one’s lights are coming back on is not too much to ask,” said Senator Skoufis. “People are understanding of a storm’s destruction and the repairs that are needed, but it is downright insulting when days go by and they’re given no practical update – and when they are, it winds up being incorrect information.”

Skoufis’ legislation will impose penalties on utilities failing to comply with the 36-hour requirement as well as those instance whereby inaccurate information is posted. To ensure fines are not passed along to customers and do not come out of utility operations, penalties will be required to be paid out of executive budgets.

“People who are literally in the dark shouldn’t have to be figuratively in the dark about what’s going on for days on end,” continued Senator Skoufis. “A day-and-half is enough time for a power company to assess damage, develop a roadmap to recovery, and communicate accurate information to their customers so they can best prepare for the blackout.”

Constituents in need of special assistance during the outage are encouraged to contact Skoufis’ office at skoufis@nysenate.gov or 845-567-1270.