N.Y. State Sen. Jim Gaughran Says Utility Leaders Should Resign Over Handling Of Isaias

Aug 12, 2020

On Long Island, New York State Senator Jim Gaughran has called on the heads of the regional power authority and utility company to step down, as thousands are still without power a week after Tropical Storm Isaiah.

He blames continued outages on breakdowns in communication from Long Island Power Authority and PSEG Long Island.

"A public utility is supposed to have a communication system that has so much redundancy it should never go out," Gaughran said. "I know that because I used to chair the Suffolk County Water Authority before I became a state senator."

Gaughran said he’ll draft legislation that would give the Public Service Commission the power to oversee storm management planning and preparation — including drills.

The legislation would allow the PEC to fine power companies for violations.

Gaughran has also called for PSEG Long Island to prioritize connecting power for vulnerable households.

Rebecca Gutierrez of Huntington is nine months pregnant and is on her ninth day without power. She also has two children, and is on bedrest. Gutierrez said her family has been using a small generator to power their fridge, but the heat makes staying inside “unbearable.”

“Having a baby during a pandemic is one thing, and now adding the extra layer of not having power and not knowing if I’m going to have to bring a newborn home to a hot house, is not really helping. It’s very stressful,” she said.

Gutierrez claimed PSEG Long Island told her to risk staying with friends or family with electricity, despite social distancing for her and her baby’s safety.