Governor Cuomo Unveils 'Scorecard' To Measure Utilities' Performance
The proposed scorecard builds on the work of the Moreland Commission on Utility Storm Preparation and Response, the NYS Ready commission and the NYS Respond commission, convened by the Governor after Superstorm Sandy to ensure that the State’s critical systems and services are prepared for future natural disasters and other emergencies.
“A utility scorecard will help establish standards to promote effective emergency preparation and response by utilities in the restoration of power to their communities,” said Governor Cuomo. “Holding utilities accountable to such standards will ensure that they have the ability, capacity, and mindset to act quickly and effectively. My administration will continue to work aggressively to enact reforms that will overhaul and improve New York State’s emergency preparedness and response capabilities, as well as improve the strength and resilience of the state’s infrastructure to better withstand major weather incidents.”
“The provision of reliable and dependable energy supply is critical to the health and safety of New Yorkers,” said Commission Chairman Garry Brown. “To fulfill this important obligation, utilities must appropriately respond to emergencies, and the Commission must be able to assure that the utilities are adequately prepared to respond to emergency events, and that they respond appropriately to the challenge of restoring service promptly and efficiently.”
The development of a quantitative metrics scorecard is the direct result of newly enacted changes to the Public Service Law advanced by Governor Cuomo and codified as part of the 2013-14 State Budget. The new law requires increased PSC oversight of utility emergency response plans, and it provides the Commission with the authority to assess civil penalties against utilities. The development of criteria to judge utility performance is the first step to ensure more aggressive regulatory oversight.
The areas addressed by the scorecard include:
- The advanced preparation of each utility prior to a significant outage;
- The ability of each company to restore service after a significant outage; and
- Each company’s communication during a significant outage.
The scorecard will provide quantitative measures to assist the PSC in its evaluation of utility performance, its determination of whether to assess a penalty, and the magnitude of the penalty to be assessed.
In addition to developing performance criteria, the law requires that the PSC review and approve electric emergency response plans filed annually by electric corporations and specifies subject areas to be covered in the emergency response plans. The significantly more stringent assessment and overview of utility activity in New York were enacted as part of Governor Cuomo’s 2013-14 State Budget.
PSC review and approval of the emergency response plans will require establishment of a process for public comment that will be applicable to each electric utility’s emergency plan. The approved plans would serve as foundation for subsequent enforcement action by the Commission.