LIPA Boss Quits Over Disastrous Response to Hurricane Sandy

 @CharlieAllDayc.poladian@ibtimes.com
on November 13 2012 10:02 PM
Andrew Cuomo
Governor Cuomo inspects water flooding the Battery Tunnel in Manhattan as Hurricane Sandy made its approach in New York Reuters

Mike Hervey, COO and Interim CEO of the Long Island Power Authority, quit Tuesday evening, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has formed a committee to investigate LIPA's handling of the mass outages caused by Hurricane Sandy.

LIPA's response following Hurricane Sandy has been roundly condemned, as hundreds of thousands of Long Island residents remained without power and heat more than a week after the massive storm.

Two weeks after Hurricane Sandy, there are still 45,000 people without power on Long Island, the New York Post reported Tuesday.

In response to mounting criticism, Hervey resigned, effective at the end of the year. He may have to answer for LIPA's handling of Hurricane Sandy as Cuomo has established a 10-person committee that will investigate LIPA's preparation for and handling of the storm, as well as previous storms that have left Long Island residents without power.

According to the New York Daily News, the committee will have subpoena power, which means that Hervey and others could be made to testify, and that LIPA will likely have to turn over any evidence at the committee's request.

In a statement, Cuomo discussed the establishment of the committee “under the Moreland Act that will investigate the response, preparation and management of New York’s power utility companies with major storms hitting the state over the past two years, including Hurricanes Sandy and Irene, and Tropical Storm Lee."

The committee's role is not to punish LIPA, he said, but to learn from the mistakes of LIPA as well as National Grid, Con Ed and other utilities, in order to be better prepared the next time a large storm hits New York. 

“Con Edison looks forward to working with the commission to discuss the company’s preparation and response to Superstorm Sandy,” the utility company said in a statement. 

Cuomo did not pull any punches, saying, “I believe LIPA has been beyond repair for a long, long time,” Bloomberg Businessweek reported. He took some blame for LIPA's unpreparedness, citing the need to appoint more members to LIPA's 15-member board, which currently has four vacancies.

In more bad news for LIPA on Tuesday, a class-action lawsuit was filed by Nassau attorney Kenneth Mollins against LIPA and National Grid. The suit could involve 1 million customers, according to the New York Daily News.

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