WGXC-90.7 FM

Cuomo looking to gain more authority over the state's utilities

Feb 04, 2020 12:45 pm
Marie J. French is reporting for Politico New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is looking to expand his authority over the state’s utility companies. Cuomo put language into his budget proposal that would give the Department of Public Service sweeping authority to deal with electric, gas, cable or water companies when they step out of line. The department is the independent Public Service Commission that the governor effectively controls. His proposal moves authority away from the Public Service Commission and to the Department of Public Service staff, allowing the agency to move more quickly to investigate utilities and their actions. Under state law, the PSC is set up to act independently of the governor and handles rate-setting, but Cuomo controls its agenda, and he has leveraged the power of the commission over gas and electric utilities to the benefit of consumers during past several years. The governor has been critical of utilities over their response to weather-related outages, threatening multiple times to revoke their license to operate in the state. Utility companies have not yet weighed in on the governor's proposal. One former commission member expressed concerns about the changes and the shifting of authority away from the PSC, saying Cuomo is attempting to “obfuscate decades and decades of checks and balances … for his own political purposes.” Read the full story at Politico New York.