Croton and Ossining residents and business owners have a chance to add their two cents to the discussion about power outages and restoration issues after big storms.
In the past two years alone, local residents have been among those without power for a week or more. Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy are only among the most well-known; there were also a couple of snowstorms that knocked down limbs and wires.
The Moreland Commission on Utility Storm Preparation and Response is holding a public hearing to solicit comments about the problem from residents in Westchester, Putnam and Rockland counties on Jan. 24.
The hearing begins at 6 p.m. at the SUNY Purchase Performing Arts Center at 735 Anderson Hill Road in Purchase. Community members can also submit testimony before or after the hearing at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo established the commission on Nov. 13, 2012 under the Moreland Act to investigate the response, preparation, and management of New York’s power utility companies to several major storms. The storms include Hurricanes Sandy and Irene, and Tropical Storm Lee. In New York, 2.1 million customers lost power from Hurricane Sandy, some of them for as long as 21 days.
The Moreland Commission already held three public hearings, which focused on two specific issues. The topics, which the public is asked to address, deal with the emergency preparedness and response of utilities to recent storms and recommendations for restructuring utilities’ oversight in New York to improve the reliable and affordable transmission of power.
When they arrive at the hearing, members of the public can register to speak. Comments will be limited to three minutes in order to allow as many people as possible to share their views. Moreland Commission spokesman David Neustadt said several commissioners would be present at the hearing in Purchase.
Although the public hearing is called for Rockland, Westchester and Putnam counties, He said speakers are not limited to those areas but can speak about experiences in other parts of the state.
“In any case, the commission wanted to be sure to cover all the areas affected,” said Neustadt.
The commission already held hearings in New York City, Nassau and Suffolk counties and scheduled two more for the Rockaways/Queens and Staten Island prior to the one in Purchase.
The Commission issued an interim report of almost 60 pages on Jan. 7, much of which dealt with the Long Island Power Authority as well as making recommendations for improvements. A PowerPoint presentation summarizing the findings is available.