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New York prosecutor subpoenas 2 utility firms in Sandy inquiry

November 15, 2012|By Joseph Serna
  • A police officer stands outside a collapsed house on Staten Island. Parts of Staten Island and Long Island remained without power in the aftermath of Sandy.
A police officer stands outside a collapsed house on Staten Island. Parts… (Mandel Ngan / AFP/Getty…)

New York's top prosecutor has subpoenaed two power companies as part of an investigation into whether they adequately prepared for and responded to Superstorm Sandy, which knocked out power to more than 8 million customers at its peak, including more than 2 million in New York.

Atty. Gen. Eric Schneiderman is seeking records concerning how the Long Island Power Authority and Consolidated Edison prepared for the storm, the Associated Press reported.

Schneiderman’s inquiry is separate from a state commission, initiated Tuesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, that is charged with reviewing how utility companies prepare for and respond to storms -- and how to make those efforts better.

Con Ed supplies power to upstate New York and Manhattan, and the Power Authority manages the electrical grid for Staten Island and Long Island; the latter is still suffering from widespread blackouts.

“We are cooperating with the attorney general’s request,” Con Ed spokesman Bob McGee said Thursday. “We look forward to reviewing the company’s storm preparations and response with the attorney general and all interested parties.”

The Long Island Power Authority did not return requests for comment.

For more than two weeks, tens of thousands of customers in Long Island have been living without electricity. While 99% of the utility’s customers have power, most of the customers left without it must have their homes inspected and utility equipment replaced to get power back.

It’s a long, door-to-door process, with Long Islanders’ frustration building not only because of the delay, but apparent lack of communication from the utility. The community has called on the state to pull the authority’s license, and Cuomo has said the utility will be held accountable.

Two residents filed a class-action lawsuit against the authority Tuesday. Hours later, the company’s chief operating officer announced he was resigning at the end of the year.

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joseph.serna@latimes.com

@josephserna

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