Westchester County Executive George Latimer is calling for Consolidated Edison Inc. and New York State Electric & Gas Corp. to clean house.
Following what he said was an inadequate response to a major winter storm that knocked out power in huge swaths of the lower Hudson Valley, Latimer said the presidents and senior management of both utility companies should step down.
The county executive wrote a letter on Wednesday asking the county’s Board of Legislators, state Legislature delegation and municipal officials to join him at a press conference Friday where he plans to call for the resignations publicly.
“Both ConEdison and NYSEG have fumbled the recovering effort and we as county residents can no longer stand by and accept this,” Latimer wrote. “Along with both presidents stepping down, I would also like a clean sweep of senior management, and I want a new philosophy adopted. I listened to enough, and we have put up with enough. We are all tired of ConEdison and NYSEG’s excuses. There are human beings out there – and we are given statistics instead of real world services.”
Con Edison’s President and CEO John McAvoy has been in the position since 2014. NYSEG President and CEO Carl A. Taylor started in the role last July. Representatives from each company did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The Latimer letter marks an escalation in a week of tensions between elected officials and Westchester’s two utility companies. Earlier this week, Latimer said the power providers were unprepared for the storm that hit the area Friday and said Monday that it was “disgusting” parts of the county were still without power.
Latimer’s call for resignations came a day after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo called for an investigation into the Hudson Valley utilities. The governor said Tuesday that the state’s Public Service Commission would investigate the response of Con Edison and NYSEG, along with other Hudson Valley utility companies.
The nor’easter storm that hit the region early March 2 brought snow, rain and winds gusting up to 60 mph. Conditions were damaging enough to cause the fifth worse outage in Con Edison’s history, the company said.
By Sunday, Cuomo declared states of emergency in Westchester, Putnam, Sullivan and Dutchess counties. About 182,000 New Yorkers were without power at the time Cuomo declared the emergency, three-quarters of whom lived in the four Hudson Valley counties.
Initial outages for Con Edison reached about 140,000 in its service area of Westchester and New York City, the company reports.
By this morning, Con Edison reported close to 29,000 outages. That jumped up from 9,000 in Con Edison’s service area before the second storm hit the region Wednesday morning.
Con Edison said it has almost 1,800 people involved in restoring power, including 500 mutual aid workers called in from Canada, Texas and Wisconsin.
NYSEG reported about 18,000 outages in its Westchester service area among its 32,800 customers as of this morning. That number also jumped following Wednesday’s storm. The utility reported about 1,500 of its Westchester customers were without power Wednesday morning.
In Westchester, NYSEG provides electricity to several northern towns and villages, including North Salem, Somers, Yorktown and Bedford.