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First Hearings On Utility Company Performance Held, No Timetable Set For Investigation

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TWC News: First Hearings On Utility Company Performance Held, No Timetable Set For Investigation
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The Moreland Commission, created by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to evaluate the efficiency and performance of utility companies Consolidated Edison and the Long Island Power Authority, had its first public hearing Thursday. NY1's Zack Fink has the story.

It took far too long by Gov. Andrew Cuomo's standards for many New Yorkers to get power back after Hurricane Sandy.

Cuomo blasted the performance of Consolidated Edison and the Long Island Power Authority for their performances before, during and after the storm.

The Moreland Commission was put together by the governor to investigate the utilities.

"The governor has tasked us with doing a full, fair and aggressive investigation -- and that's what we are going to do," said commission co-chair Ben Lawsky. "This shouldn't take forever either. This is going to be a speedy investigation. Not hurried, but it should be aggressive and full and fair. And that is what we are going to do."

The commission will also look into the structure of LIPA and Con Ed and see whether New York should reevaluate how power gets delivered.

"The committee will also be examining the monopoly-type structure of investor owned utilities and whether or not there should be reforms going forward so that those companies can better serve consumers," commission co-chair Robert Abrams said.

Experts gave testimony on other improvements that can be made to the grid to avoid future massive outages.

"Energy efficiency is one of the primary things you can do to reduce strain on the network," said Dan Kartzman of Efficiency First. "There were big time electrical issues, and a network that's less strained has a better chance of surviving in those situations."

The commission has the subpoena power but no prosecutorial authority.

It's the first commission created by Cuomo under the state's Moreland Act.

"It's ideal to build a guard rail at the top of a cliff rather than ambulances below," commission member Mark Green said. "If you can figure out how to both anticipate and mitigate public calamities, we are all the better."

There are two more commission meetings scheduled for this month, however, there is no timetable for when the investigation will wrap up.

Once it has concluded, the commission will submit its report to the governor.

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