Questions about NYSEG's wind storm response

Posted at 6:55 PM, Mar 13, 2017

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz is asking Governor Cuomo and the NYS Public Service Commission (PSC) to investigate NYSEG's (New York State Electric and Gas Corp.) response to March 8th's destructive wind storm that hit WNY.

Poloncarz does not understand why National Grid, which had many more affected customers than NYSEG, was able to restore power while some NYSEG customers still had no electricity five days after the storm.

"This is ridiculous," said a group of residents from Finch Road, Colden, who said several days in the dark has frozen up well water pumps and water lines.

The frustrated residents are supporting a call for an investigation because they say NYSEG kept changing restoration times which made it hard for them to make alternate plans.  In addition, Finch Road residents say there were unable to speak to supervisors when they called NYSEG for help.

Colden Supervisor, James DePasquale tells 7 Eyewitness News that he too was without power for days.  The supervisor believes NYSEG needs to develop a better plan for dealing with rural areas where people need electricity to get well water.

A spokesperson for NYSEG apologized for the inconvenience but said that higher populated areas had to be repaired first.

NYSEG said it brought in crews from the northeast and Canada to help make repairs.  However, the wind storm caused widespread damage to its network by breaking hundreds of poles and downing over 900 power lines.

As of Monday March 13th, over 100 crews continue to make repairs with about 13 customers still without electricity in Erie County by 6:30 p.m.  NYSEG said it hopes to have all power restored by the end of the day.

Many of the repairs were just temporary in order to get electricity restored.  Over the next few weeks, NYSEG will have to work to make those repairs permanent.

As to the call for an investigation, NYSEG said it welcomes any assistance that Governor Cuomo can bring to the effort.  NYSEG said it will wait to comment more pending a review of any formal complaints from the PSC.

The spokesperson said it is common practice for the company to review its operations after any disaster that causes a widespread power outage.

7 Eyewitness News Reporter Ed Reilly has more in his reports