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RG&E, NYSEG pay $3.9M for 2017 windstorm response

It’s been two years but a settlement has finally been agreed upon that holds RG&E and NYSEG accountable for their failures during the 2017 windstorm in western New York.

The storm left 125,000 customers in the Rochester area without power for days. The New York State Department of Public Service says the companies failed to follow their own emergency response plans that could have alleviated many of the problems that arose.

The parent company of RG&E and NYSEG will pay $3.9 million to settle the violations.

DPS says that money needs to come from shareholders, not ratepayers, and it needs to be used to better the utilities’ responses in emergency situations.

In the months following the 2017 windstorm, DPS investigated both RG&E and NYSEG’s response and found both failed to follow the plans they had in place to quickly assess the damage, offer fair restoration times and get the clean-up work done.

“Like many of the people in this room, especially those from Western New York as I am, I remember that storm very well. Indeed, it was disappointing at the time that NYSEG and RG&E took longer to restore service than National Grid given that they had relatively comparable service territories and damages,” DPS Commissioner Gregg Sayre said at the settlement hearing in Albany on Thursday.

Similar sentiments were echoed by DPS Commissioner Jim Alesi.

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