Gov. Andrew Cuomo again vowed Monday that utility companies will be held responsible for their performance following Superstorm Sandy, discussing options for overhauling how New Yorkers get their power in the future.
Cuomo said at a briefing Monday that the utility system in the New York City area “doesn’t work” and will fail again if the state doesn’t “fix it” before another storm hits.
“There is nothing off the table,” Cuomo said. “Let’s get a group of talented people who will bring a clean piece of paper, review the situation and design a new system.”
He said, “in a perfect world,” power lines would be underground and not vulnerable to breaks in service when storms topple trees. But building an underground power infrastructure would cost “billions and billions of dollars,” he said.
He criticized Consolidated Edison, a power provider in New York City and Westchester, for recently proposing a rate increase.
“I think the utilities should be talking about rebating to the rate-payers,” Cuomo said. “I didn’t have power for two weeks. Why doesn’t the utility rebate to me?”
The state must strengthen its ability to withstand storms, he said, again calling climate change “undeniable” and a “reality.”
“We have to make sure that we’re prepared for when this happens again,” he said, “because I believe that this will happen again. And I think anyone who said, ‘this is once in a lifetime, this is a once every 100 years’—that is denial. And I think that’s a serious mistake, and I’m not going to govern this way.”