Assemblyman David Buchwald (left) and Westchester County Executive George Latimer vowing to bring the concerns of 70 Westchester leaders to the Public Service Commission in their news conference Monday morning.
WPCNR THE POWER STORY. By John F. Bailey. March 26, 2018:
County Executive George Latimer joined with Assemblyman David Buchwald to announce Monday morning a conference of county leaders organized by Mr. Buchwald held last Friday.
The full press conference can be seen HERE.
The two officials took the reactions of 70 towns and city leaders over two hours at Westchester County Center March 23.
Latimer said they would present the leaders’ priorities to the Public Service Commission of what was wrong with the Con Ed and New York State Electric and Gas paralyzing slow response to the high wind rainstorm March 2 and snowstorm March 7 that pummeled Westchester County the first week of March.
The two storms left 70,000 customers without power from 3 to 10 days.
Latimer said the county leaders were surveyed to put together changes Con Ed and NYSEG must make, to, in Mr. Latimer’s stern words “make sure this (delay in restoration response) never happens again.”
Once the results of the surveys of the leaders are tallied, and put in a workable format, definite next steps will be taken.
Mr. Latimer said he wanted communications with the county and affkicted communities to improve dramatically. He said the robocall system to notify customers when they would be restored was ineffective and had to be fixed to reflect realities on the ground. Latimer was highly critical of the Con Ed online outage maps which did not reflect “real time” for city and town governments or customers.
Asked if the county had an idea of how much money sanctions the Public Service Commission should fine Con Ed and NYSEG, he said it was too early to tell, that it was up to the PSC.
He was asked if he supported the establishment by Con Ed and NYSEG of a standby auxiliary force of trucks and crews ready to spring into action in the New York area as suggested by County Legislator Mike Kaplowitz as an always-ready-to-deploy power restoratioin force.
Latimer gave a hesitant yes, but also said Con Edison had not been forthcoming as to how many crews and equipment would have to comprise such a “Switch-on Force” to enable faster on-the scene-response to cut turn-back-on time. He said the delay in the arrival of mutual aid repair crews and trucks from out of states showed the present mutual aid system needs to be looked at.
Latimer stressed the county wanted to work cooperatively with Con Edison and NYSEG and that the chief executives of both companies had expressed willingness to do so.
Latimer said he hoped the two power companies would hold news conferences soon to say what they thought could do and would do to improve the situation.
Early this afternoon, the County Executive Communications Office announced Mr. Latimer would continue his outreach by holding a meeting with Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. tomorrow,Tuesday, at The Bronx County Building, Veterans’ Memorial Hall, 851 Grand Concourse (at East 161st Street) Suite 301, Bronx, NY