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SENATOR GIANARIS SENDS 2006 QUEENS OUTAGE RECOMMENDATIONS TO GOVERNOR’S MORELAND COMMISSION Queens, NY – A longtime advocate for improved public utility service, Senator Michael Gianaris is helping reform New York’s public utilities by sending Governor Cuomo’s Moreland Commission a report from the Queens Power Outage Task Force, which he led following the 10day western Queens blackout in 2006. The report made a series of recommendations to improve utility service, which would be a useful tool for the Moreland Commission as it conducts its own investigation of the utilities. Governor Cuomo recently established the commission under the Moreland Act to investigate the response, preparation and management of the state’s utilities and make recommendations for reforming how they operate in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy and other extreme storms that hit New York over the last few years. “The failure of utilities’ response efforts is a recurring problem that cries out for reform,” Senator Gianaris said. “Many of the issues raised by Superstorm Sandy recovery efforts are identical to those experienced by western Queens in 2006. The inability to quickly restore power to so many homes and businesses is dangerous to people’s health and devastating to our economy. I am hopeful this Commission will bring about the necessary reforms many of us have advocated for years.” In July 2006, western Queens experienced a historic 10-day blackout caused by failures in Con Edison’s Long Island City network, which forced residents to be without power during an extremely hot summer and businesses to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars or close entirely. Senator Gianaris is a leader in reforming utilities by increasing oversight of the industry, ensuring they are held accountable for their faulty systems and that businesses were reimbursed for losses incurred as a result of the outage. The Queens Power Outage Task Force identified problems with the State’s energy policy which led to the lack of accountability over utilities. Similar to the Moreland Commission’s current investigation of recent failures, the Report from the 2006 Task Force examined the possibility of
revoking utilities’ franchises. It also highlighted the need for utilities to invest in infrastructure improvements and modernized equipment to best handle the increasing stress on networks supplying electricity to growing areas. The Report recommended mandating enhanced oversight of electricity distributers and increased competition throughout the industry to ensure more reliable electricity distribution. The Queens Power Outage Task Force Report can be read here: http://assembly.state.ny.us/member_files/036/20070130/.