Utility companies could be fined millions for wind storm response

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A report from the state Public Service Commission (PSC) says New York State Gas & Electric Corporation (NYSEG) and Rochester Gas & Electric Corporation (RG&E) could face millions of dollars in fines for their response to a powerful wind storm that swept through Western New York in March.

The PSC claims the utility companies did not follow their own emergency response plan, citing a dozen violations between the two companies.

More than 170,000 customers lost power in the windstorm, which caused significant damage throughout Western New York and the Rochester area on March 8th. The PSC found several key areas in which the utility companies did not follow protocol, including not securing downed wires within the required 36-hour period.

AVANGRID, which owns the utility companies, said in a statement: “NYSEG and RG&E are reviewing the findings from the (PSC’s) investigation into NYSEG and RG&E’s preparation for and response to the March 2017 windstorm and will respond as directed. The unprecedented weather that resulted in the march windstorm posed great challenges to our communities, employees, contractors, assisting utilities, and municipal partners who all worked tirelessly to safely restore power to all customers. NYSEG and RG&E’s priorities during any storm are the restoration of service to our customers and the safety of our communities, customers, employees and contractors.”

The PSC’s full report can be found here.

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