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Weeks after Superstorm Sandy ravaged the East Coast, a political storm is brewing in New York over how utilities responded to the hurricane. Customers and government officials are saying power-restoration efforts were too slow.

In response, New York State Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed an executive order on Tuesday establishing a commission to investigate how the state's utility bodies responded to Sandy and other major storms within the past two years. The commission, which will have the power to issue subpoenas, is also tasked with examining and, perhaps, reforming the responsibilities of the New York Public Service Commission, the New York Power Authority, NYSERDA, and the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA).

"As evidenced by Hurricane Sandy, the existing labyrinth of regulatory bodies, state agencies and authorities, and quasi-governmental bodies has contributed to a dysfunctional utility system," Cuomo said in his announcement.

Also on Tuesday, LIPA announced that Chief Operating Officer Mike Hervey tendered his resignation, to be effective at year-end. Hervey has worked at the organization for 12 years and has also been performing the functions of CEO over the past two years.

Separately, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has subpoenaed LIPA and Consolidated Edison (Con Ed) to partake in an investigation of their responses to the storm. According to an AP report, an unnamed official familiar with the investigation said Schneiderman will be looking into the companies’ preparation plans, power-restoration work and communication with customers, among other issues.

Elizabeth Flagler, a LIPA spokesperson, spoke with AP about the subpoena and said that the company will “comply with it in all respects." Con Ed, meanwhile, said it is open to  review of the utility’s preparation for, and response to, the storm.






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