With Tropical Storm Isaias in the rearview mirror, it is time to ensure that we learn from this experience and avoid such prolonged power outages in the future (Officials Fault Utilities for Isaias Response, Aug. 28).
While there are many reforms being discussed in our communities, I would like to highlight some of the obvious changes I am advocating.
First, we need to change the incentive structure for our utility and telecommunications companies. We need the Public Service Commission to issue larger fines for slow responses.
If passed and enacted by the governor, Assembly and Senate bills A10955/S8932 would create time-based goals for power restoration, such as the requirement that at least 80 percent of customers have service restored within 48 hours.
Assembly and Senate bills A10900/S8931 would direct the Public Service Commission to study the feasibility and costs of burying utility transmission lines. Many of our outages are related to falling trees and wind. While some areas are already underground, our area is susceptible. This bill is the first step to undergrounding our system.
Assembly bill A4010 would require gas stations to have emergency generators that supply 48 hours of electricity (Should Gas Stations Have Generators?, Aug. 28). We rely on gas stations for our cars and generators. Having gas stations remain open is in the public interest.
Finally, electric utilities should provide reimbursements for the foods and medicines of customers who are left without power for more than 24 hours. This is another way that companies cut corners to save a dime.
There is much left to do to improve our system. If you have ideas for legislation, email me at [email protected] These are necessary first steps, with more to come.
Sandy Galef, Albany
Galef’s district includes Philipstown.