Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has subpoenaed Con Ed and the Long Island Power Authority [LIPA] for documents pertaining to their "handling" of things before, during, and after Hurricane Sandy. The A.G. is conducting an investigation into whether the utilities violated state laws in regards to the superstorm, which resulted in power losses to millions of New Yorkers. (Two days after the storm, about 90% of LIPA's 1.1 million customers were without power.)
A source tells the AP that Schneiderman "seeks plans and performance records on restoring power, communicating with customers without power and other aspects of the utility's response to the storm." The investigation will take "a broad look at the preparation and response to Sandy and a nor'easter that followed," and the A.G. could even bring criminal charges under New York's Martin Act, a sweeping securities law dating back to 1921 that gives the A.G. "extraordinary powers" and discretion to fight fraud.
But actually proving that the utilities broke consumer protection laws could be difficult. State law requires private utilities like Con Edison to provide “safe and adequate service,” while the law regulating LIPA “a safer, more efficient, reliable and economical supply of electric energy," the Times reports. News of the subpoenas comes after Governor Cuomo created a commission under the state’s Moreland Act to separately investigate the companies' handling of the catastrophe. A class-action lawsuit was also filed against LIPA this week.
Both Con Ed and LIPA say they will fully cooperate with the Attorney General. Yesterday LIPA COO Mike Hervey resigned after 12 years, and Cuomo is far from satisfied—he has repeatedly blasted the utility's slow response and allegedly poor preparation for the hurricane, and has threatened to restructure the monopoly, as well as National Grid, which is contacted by LIPA.