Cuomo threatens to revoke PSEG, Con Edison operating license over 'lousy' response to Isaias

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Tens of thousands of customers remain without power in New York one week after Tropical Storm Isaias blasted the Northeast, prompting Gov. Andrew Cuomo to threaten to revoke the state operating licenses for two utilities.

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In a briefing on Monday, Cuomo said that he ordered the Public Service Commission to conduct an investigation into utilities ConEdison and PSEG Long Island.

"ConEd and PSE&G did a lousy job," Cuomo said. "That's a technical term – lousy job. They were not prepared, and they didn't anticipate what it would take to get back online quickly."

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According to power-outage tracking site poweroutage.us, some 11,614 Con Edison and 32,253 PSEG Long Island customers are still without power in New York on Tuesday morning.

The greater New York area is under a heat advisory until Wednesday, with temperatures forecast to soar into the 90s.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday he was “personally disappointed” in the utilities, and that New Yorkers are “fed up” with them. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

Cuomo said he was "personally disappointed" in the utilities, and that New Yorkers are "fed up" with them.

The ongoing investigation by the PSC may result in fines, penalties, restitution, or even worse, according to the governor.

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"I want the utilities to know that we do not abide by the concept in New York that anything is too big to fail," Cuomo said, threatening that their "franchise can be revoked.”

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"I am not bluffing," he said. “If you’re not serving the people of this state, they give you a license to provide a service. If you don’t provide the service, they will revoke the license and the license is your franchise.”

A fallen utility pole and trees lies across neighborhood street in Yonkers, following high winds spawned by tropical storm Isaias, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Luke Sheridan)

Officials on Long Island's Nassau County are demanding that PSEG Long Island pay back customers for their power problems, including refunds for bills and reimbursement for food and medications that had to be tossed.

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“We are calling on PSEG Long Island to help right now, right some of the wrongs from their botched and inadequate storm response,” County Executive Laura Curran told CBS New York. “This is vital – this reimbursement for the more than 140,000 customers who were left without electricity for more than 24 hours.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio talks with residents about damage from Tropical Storm Isaias, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020, in the Queens borough of New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Con Ed said Monday that "crews are closing in on the end of the restoration of customers affected by Storm Isaias," including in Westchester County.

The utility has said that Tropical Storm Isaias caused the second-largest outage in the company's history.

Con Ed spokesman Robert McGee told the New York Post the utility is “completely focused on restoring power as safely and quickly as possible to every customer.”

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“After every major event we perform a thorough analysis of what can be improved and we’ll do the same following the second-worst storm in the history of our service territory,” he said.

Technicians work to restore power by repairing downed power lines on Flagler Street in Morristown, NJ after Tropical Storm Isaias passed through Wednesday, August 5, 2020. (John Jones/NJ Advance Media via AP)

PSEG Long Island said that full restoration to customers identified is expected to be completed by the end of day Wednesday.

"The restoration process is iterative and as we restore neighborhoods, we continue to identify a high level of individual problems within neighborhoods and individual service lines to homes," the company said late Monday.

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