A freak snow storm that left thousands of Yorktown residents without power for days and some for nearly a week, has gotten local and state officials to investigate New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG) for its "lack of responsiveness."
State Senator Greg Ball, along with local officials, said he wants to hold a public hearing into why NYSEG wasn't able to better respond. In addition, Ball said he will be introducing legislation that would prohibit a foreign-owned company from operating utility services in New York State.
"This is not a third-world country," he said at a press conference on Friday. "These companies need to begin to more immediately respond to abandoned customers, struggling for basic answers and information. It is unacceptable for our utility companies to be owned by foreign companies. This begs for an independent hearing and investigation into slow response times and vulnerability of our infrastructure."
In September 2008, Iberdrola S.A., an energy company based in Spain, bought the parent company of two Upstate New York utilities -- New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG) and Rochester Gas & Electric. Since then, customers of NYSEG have noticed a progressive degradation in quality and service from their utility provider, Ball said.
"The delayed response from NYSEG is simply unacceptable, especially for our most vulnerable citizens such as our seniors," Yorktown councilman Terrence Murphy said. "We now have two case studies we can examine to identify exactly how NYSEG can improve its response time of restoring power for our residents."
In August, thousands of people were left in the dark for days following the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. Councilmen Jim Martorano and Nick Bianco also called for an investigation, suggesting the company should no longer work in Yorktown or the county.
"This is health and safety issue," Martorano said. "This is about taking care of the people who are in the cold, they shouldn't be in the cold."
Assemblyman Steve Katz said the workers have done a great job working on restoring the power, but the problem was there wasn't enough of them working.
"There is a terrible discrepancy is in the amount of accurate reporting that we get from NYSEG and information from NYSEG that we have gotten from Con Ed," he said.
Lewisboro Supervisor Charlie Duffy, whose town remained at about 50 percent of the current outages in Westchester on Friday, also joined the local and state officials in calling for an investigation.
"We need NYSEG to know they need to answer to our residents," he said. "The difference between this and Irene is a 60 degree temperature drop."
To read what a NYSEG spokesperson told Patch last week about some misconceptions, .