Cuomo Declares State Of Emergency In Some Counties, Orders Investigation Of Utilities After Isaias

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – Gov. Andrew Cuomo is ordering an investigation of the state's utilities over their response to Tropical Storm Isaias.

 "We know that severe weather is our new reality and the reckless disregard by utility companies to adequately plan for tropical storm Isaias left tens of thousands of customers in the dark, literally and figuratively. Their performance was unacceptable," Cuomo said in a statement Wednesday. "The large volume of outages and the utilities' failure to communicate with customers in real time proves they did not live up to their legal obligations. The fact that many customers still do not know when their power will be restored makes it even more unacceptable. The worst of this situation was avoidable, and it cannot happen again."

The Department of Public Service has been directed to launch an investigation into Verizon, PSEG Long Island, Con Edison, Central Hudson Gas & Electric, Orange and Rockland Utilities, and New York State Electric & Gas "to understand how such a failure could have taken place," the governor said.

"New Yorkers deserve answers and they deserve better," Cuomo added.

The governor has also declared a state of emergency in Bronx, Dutchess, Kings, Nassau, New York, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk and Westchester counties to provide local governments with additional clean-up and operational support in the wake of the devastating stor. 

The state of emergency applies to all counties bordering the 11 specified.

Some customers could be without power for days after the storm downed branches and power lines. Con Edison said it had more outages from Isaias than any storm except Sandy in 2012.

"We are working throughout the day, throughout the night to make sure that we can get the power back on and what we're doing is we're focusing on pieces of equipment that serve a lot of customers first," Con Ed spokesperson Alfonso Quiroz told WCBS 880.