NY utilities Con Ed, LIPA subpoenaed in Sandy work

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Associated Press

Posted on November 14, 2012 at 7:01 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 14 at 10:35 PM

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The utility companies Consolidated Edison and Long Island Power Authority confirmed Wednesday they received subpoenas from the state attorney general and were cooperating with his investigation into their preparation for and response to Superstorm Sandy.

An official familiar with the investigation said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman seeks plans and performance records on restoring power, communicating with customers without power and other aspects of the utilities' responses to the storm. The official wasn't authorized to speak during the investigation and requested anonymity.

The superstorm, formed when Hurricane Sandy merged with two other weather systems, killed more than 100 people in 10 states but vented the worst of its fury on New York and New Jersey, where beach towns were flooded and power was knocked out to thousands of homes and businesses. It sapped electricity for more than 2 million New York customers alone.

Con Ed said it looked forward "to reviewing the company's storm preparations and response with the attorney general and all interested parties."

LIPA has reviewed the attorney general's subpoena and intends to "comply with it in all respects," spokeswoman Elizabeth Flagler said.

On Tuesday, LIPA chief executive Mike Hervey resigned after 12 years. A permanent CEO slot and several board seats have been vacant for months awaiting appointment by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo, however, has said LIPA is simply an outdated political entity he wants to overhaul and that National Grid, contracted by LIPA, is responsible for providing power to Long Island.

A spokeswoman for Schneiderman declined to comment.

The probe is separate from a commission created by Cuomo to investigate utilities involved in Sandy.

Schneiderman plans a broad look at the preparation and response to Sandy and a nor'easter that followed, the official said. The attorney general's office has investigation powers and the power to enforce state laws including public service and consumer protection laws, which could provide greater latitude than the state's Moreland commission.

The Moreland Act Commission, created by Cuomo, can investigate and refer evidence of wrongdoing to a local district attorney or the attorney general's office. It also could issue a report recommending legislative changes.

The official said Schneiderman is specifically looking into areas that include efforts to restore power, how well the companies communicated with customers without power, power line maintenance and the trimming of tree limbs near power lines and the loss of power distribution equipment and service at substations.

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