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Hearing Scheduled To Take Complaints On Delayed Power Outage Response

State Sen. Terrence Murphy and Somers Supervisor Rick Morrissey are briefed on power restoration efforts by a crew worker from Northline Utilities in Somers.
State Sen. Terrence Murphy and Somers Supervisor Rick Morrissey are briefed on power restoration efforts by a crew worker from Northline Utilities in Somers. Photo Credit: Provided

A State Senate hearing has been set for Thursday, March 22 to take citizen complaints and investigate the delayed utility company response to this month's trio of  winter Nor'easters.

The hearing, co-sponsored by state senatorsTerrence Murphy and Sue Serino , will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium of John F. Kennedy High School, 54 Route 138 in Somers.

On March 2, the first Nor'easter walloped parts of the Hudson Valley with over a foot of snow. The storm also caused extensive flooding and generated winds that topped out at nearly 60 miles per hour.

On March 7, the region was subjected to a second Nor'easter which produced blizzard-like conditions and knocked out power for more than a 100,000 additional customers.

A third, much less severe Nor'easter caused additional power outages this past Tuesday, March 13.

Together, the storms caused more outages in Westchester than Hurricane Irene did in August 2011, with more than 160,000 Con Edison and NYSEG customers left in the dark.

In response to residents' many questions, and in his capacity as Chairman of the New York State Senate's Committee on Investigations and Government Operations, Sen. Murphy of Yorktown will explore preparedness for the storm.

Sen. Joseph Griffo, chairman of the New Senate Committee on Energy, and Sen. Sue Serino of Hyde Park, chairwoman of Senate Committee on Aging, will co-host the hearing.

Murphy said, "Roads were impassable due to fallen trees and wires; supermarkets and delicatessens had to throw out refrigerators full of food that represented a month's worth of profits, and seniors and families waited in the dark for a week or more for the lights to come on. The slow and inadequate response to a potentially life-threatening situation was wholly inadequate and we need to find out why."

Serino said, "Residents of the Hudson Valley deserve answers and it's important that we get a clear understanding of what can be improved upon to ensure that our communities get back up and running when something like this happens."

Local elected officials whose towns and municipalities were affected by the storms have been invited to testify, including Somers Town Supervisor Rick Morrissey, Mount Pleasant Supervisor Carl Fulgenzi and New Castle Supervisor Rob Greenstein. Westchester County Executive George Latimer and Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell have also been invited to comment on how the storms affected their residents.

Executives from Con Edison, NYSEG and Central Hudson also have been invited.

John Rhodes, chairman of New York State's Public Service Commission, has also been asked to testify about the State's actions in advance of, during and after the storms.

The public is invited to attend. Oral testimony is by invitation only. Written testimony can be submitted to John Winton at winton@nysenate.gov

For details, contact Sen. Murphy's District Office at 914-962-2624 .

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