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Collins appointed to commission to investigate utility companies

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POTSDAM - Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has appointed Clarkson University President Anthony G. Collins to a commission, established under the Moreland Act, that will investigate the response, preparation and management of New York’s power utility companies with major storms hitting the state over the past two years, including Hurricanes Sandy and Irene, and Tropical Storm Lee.

The appointment was announced in a release issued by the governor’s office on Tuesday afternoon.

Mr. Cuomo signed an executive order to establish the commission that will be tasked to undertake a thorough review of all actions taken by the power companies before and after these emergencies, and make specific recommendations to reform and modernize oversight, regulation and management of New York’s power delivery services.

“From Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee, to Hurricane Sandy, over the past two years New York has experienced some of the worst natural disasters in our state’s history,” Mr. Cuomo said in the release. “As we adjust to the reality of more frequent major weather incidents, we must study and learn from these past experiences to prepare for the future.”

The commission’s mandate includes examining and making recommendations to reform the overlapping responsibilities and missions of NYPA, LIPA, NYSERDA and the Public Service Commission.

“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,” according to the governor’s release.

The commission, which will have the power to subpoena and examine witnesses under oath, includes Mr. Collins; Co-Chair Robert Abrams, former attorney general of New York state; Co-Chair Benjamin Lawsky, superintendent of the Department of Financial Services; Peter Bradford, former chair of the Public Service Commission; John Dyson, former chairman of the New York Power Authority; the Rev. Floyd Flake, senior pastor of Greater Allen African Methodist Episcopal Cathedral; Mark Green, former New York City public advocate; Joanie Mahoney, Onondaga County executive; Kathleen Rice, Nassau County district attorney; and Dan Tishman, vice chairman at AECOM Technology Corporation, and chairman and CEO of Tishman Construction Corporation.

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