The Daily Gazette
The Locally Owned Voice Of The Capital Region

Lopez says post-storm utility inquiry might be useful

A state investigation into the performance of utility companies during the last two years of flooding is a good idea, according to one member of the Assembly who saw the damage of tropical storms Irene and Lee firsthand.

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, utility companies have struggled to get the power back on in certain areas. As a result, earlier this week Gov. Andrew Cuomo used his powers under the Moreland Act to create a commission that would review the work of utility companies during Hurricane Sandy, tropical storms Irene and Lee and previous storms.

Assemblyman Peter Lopez, R-Schoharie, said he wasn't aware of any major problems with the utility companies in the Capital Region during last year's flooding, but noted Cuomo's action may allow issues to come to light that haven't been exposed yet.

He added that there might be cathartic to let the public vent frustrations from last year that haven't been publicly announced.

"There's always a benefit to going back and reassessing after the fact," Lopez said. "I'm not interested in a witch hunt."

He said any investigation should be focused on what the utility companies can do better, while avoiding any sort of desire for retribution. Additionally, he hoped the investigation might provide an assessment on the current state of the utility companies and their capabilities.

"It would be good to open a dialogue and review our options ... I see it having utility in that regard," he said, apologizing for the pun.

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