Cuomo orders investigation of utilities in wake of Sandy, Joanie Mahoney on commission

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered an investigation of how utility companies prepared for and reacted to Superstorm Sandy.

Cuomo is ordering the probe under the state's powerful Moreland Commission law that provides for subpoenas and other action. He had previously threatened to hold public hearings on his concerns. The probe was announced Tuesday.

Cuomo has repeatedly criticized the utilities for what he considered slow progress restoring power to more than 2 million customers from Long Island to the Hudson Valley.

The commission's mandate will include making recommendations to reform the overlapping responsibilities and goals of NYPA, LIPA, NYSERDA, and the Public Service Commission. It will have the power to subpoena and examine witnesses underoath.

The commission will be run by former Attorney General Robert Abrams and Cuomo's financial services director, Benjamin Lawsky.

Joanie Mahoney, Onondaga County Executive, is also on the commission.

"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," Governor Cuomo said in a media release. â??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.â??

The Commission members includes: 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; Tony Collins, President of Clarkson University; John Dyson, former Chairman of the New York Power Authority; 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.

(Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.)