New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has released a wide-ranging reform of utility companies in the state. The measures include steeper penalties for companies that fail to respond to outages with speed or communicate the restoration process with customers.
Cuomo says it’s high time utility companies take responsibility.
"This has to end. The abuse of the utilities has to end," Cuomo says, "They're not too big to fail. They're not going to bully consumers. It's over."
The reforms also calls for a review of New York American Water, a Long Island-based water provider that has been criticised by ratepayers and officials for high billing and poor performance. Officials say the review could result in a public take over of New York American Water, which has been criticised for years by customers and officials for high billing and poor performance.
State Senator Jim Gaughran from Oyster Bay says he will sponsor Cuomo’s bill. He says the measure would finally hold utility companies responsible.
"Water is a human right and when a private water company like New York American Water, constituents of mine -- in some cases --are paying four, five, six times more for the same water that a neighbor may be paying down the street in a public water district. "
Public hearings that probe the company are expected to start next week.
The review is part of a larger utility reform that also includes steeper penalties for utility companies that fail to respond to service outages. Cuomo says utility companies have not been paying penalties that are consistent with the damages that they cause.