Supervisor Kate Murray and the Hempstead Town Board today approved legislation that makes America’s largest township the only local municipality to change local law to speed power restoration following an emergency.
Under the legislative amendment, in the event of a serious storm or flood, the local utility (PSEG Long Island) now has greater authority in determining who could execute electrical repairs and inspections prior to energy being restored to area homes.
“With a township as large as Hempstead Town, it’s even more vital for PSEG Long Island to get right to work after a major storm and restore power to the hundreds of thousands of residents they serve,” Murray said. “Our new law cuts the ‘red tape’ during emergency situations and grants the utility company the power to act swiftly and safely during times when neighbors need them the most.”
Under ordinary circumstances, Hempstead’s Town Code, along with all townships in Nassau County, requires that electrical repair work be performed by an electrician licensed in the Town of Hempstead and that all electrical work be inspected by private electrical inspection agencies that are certified by Hempstead. In the wake of a disaster, such as Hurricane Sandy, the pool of those electricians and inspectors licensed by the town is woefully insufficient to meet demand.
Accordingly, Hempstead Town’s new legislation authorizes PSEG to utilize other electricians and inspectors in extraordinary circumstances, such as a hurricane, flood or major storm. The legislation goes into effect if a state of emergency is declared by the town, county or state affecting a geographic area within the township. Additionally, the legislation could go into effect if PSEG implements its own emergency procedures in response to a storm, flood or similar extraordinary situation which impacts PSEG’s service system.
"The Town has passed an amendment that appears to allow us to restore our customers faster after a storm and we applaud their efforts," said John O'Connell, Vice President of Transmission and Distribution for PSEG Long Island.
Murray explained that removing potential obstacles in an emergency will result in quicker energy restoration for victims who are without electrical power.
“We’re determined to do everything in our power to help neighbors in the wake of an emergency,” Murray said. “Though the restoration of power is out of our hands on the town level, this new legislation helps enhance the local utility’s ability to respond to emergency situations.”