Cuomo Calls Power Outages 'Unacceptable'

The governor, a New Castle resident, dismisses utilities' performance.


Westchester residents can count Gov. Andrew Cuomo as among those unhappy with the pace of Con Edison's power restoration after Hurricane Sandy hit last Monday.

“Unacceptable," he said. "I'm as frustrated as anyone and I told the utility companies in no uncertain terms, on a number of occasions, they're going to be held accountable.”

The governor, who lives in New Castle, was asked to weigh in on the situation after he finished voting Tuesday morning at his polling place, the Presbyterian Church of Mount Kisco. 

Cuomo, who expressed general frustration with power companies in the restoration, also suggested revisiting the franchise agreements of utilities that fail to perform.

“Consumers pay their bill and they expect performance – and they have a right to expect performance – and these utility companies, they, this is not a god-given right to be a utility company. It's not an internal monopoly. They are granted the franchise by the state and it's the state's responsibly to make sure they're performing and we will.”

Cuomo is certainly not alone in town among those who are mad at the power company.

“It is unacceptable," said Maxine Highbloom, a resident who has been without power, when asked about Cuomo's remark.

Highbloom, who lives with her husband Lloyd on Route 133, said that Con Edison supervisors have looked at the problem at her home, with no restoration yet.

Talking with reporters, she also described the damage to her home as "unbelievable" and was uncertain about its structural situation.

“They are absolutely the worst, uncaring," she said about Con Edison. Highbloom said that she is a Con Edison shareholder and plans to sell stock "because they should be taken over." 

The Highblooms are staying in their home, Lloyd Highbloom explained, due to unavailable hotel space.

Talking to reporters after voting, Cuomo also weighed in, more broadly, on the election cycle, which includes Democratic President Barack Obama's bid for a second term against Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

“These are big issues that the state and this nation are facing," Cuomo, a Democrat, told reporters. "Leadership is important. The path that we pick is important, so I think, you know, in decades, this is probably one of the most important elections that we've had in this state and this nation, and I urge people to participate.”

The governor added, “I have my preference, I have my opinions, I shared them with the people of this state and more than anything people should just vote.”

mlloyd01 November 07, 2012 at 01:05 PM
The Governor is spot on.
Kevin November 07, 2012 at 02:46 PM
We have unprecedented damage to the lower Hudson Valley, and everyone expects Con Ed to hit a switch to restore power. Utility poles are down, trees are rapped in wires, and manholes are flooded. Con Ed substations blew up, literally burned to the ground, in lower Manhattan. Transformers blew up. Con Ed workers have been sleeping in their cars because there is not enough gas for them to drive home and back. They are working 12 hr shifts. Step outside into the cold and imagine having to sleep in a car in that. People in middle Westchester starting calling the cops on Con Ed workers when they saw them eating, as if they don't need to eat when working 12 hrs. Thousands of workers have been flown in from California and the South. People need to be rational, the only way to have better prepared for this storm would have been to have hired and trained tens of thousands of additional workers, which only takes about 6 months and cost tons of money.
Tanisha November 07, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Dear Kevin. Con Ed has plenty of qualified applicants waiting to be hired. Had they been responsive and efficient in the hiring process to begin with then may they would have extra hands to recover from the storm. Instead Con Ed is forced to hire outside contractors and union works from othe states to clean up this mess created by Sandy.
Tanisha November 07, 2012 at 05:22 PM
workers*, others* Imagine the cost to hire outside sources to help with the recovery process.


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