The state Public Service Commission criticized National Grid today for failing to adequately inform customers before shutting down power after a July storm.
The PSC issued a staff report recommending National Grid begin communicating information to the public about when the company turns electricity off in the same manner it does when electricity is cut off due to storm activity.
According to the report, National Grid initiated a “load-shed event” following a severe storm on July 10, voluntarily turning electrical transmission off because its system was temporarily overloaded. The move cut off power to the cities of Troy and Cohoes and several other communities in the surrounding area.
The severe storm preceding the load shed occurred in the Capital Region between July 9 and 10 and by itself knocked out power to approximately 38,400 National Grid customers, some until July 12.
While the PSC, which regulates New York’s utilities, found “… no significant shortcomings in National Grid’s restoration efforts related to this storm,” it also concluded that the “July 10 emergency load shed incident could have been averted had National Grid taken more aggressive action in restoring certain key elements to the electric system prior to the July 9 storm.”
PSC spokesman Jim Denn said the commission’s staff report found National Grid’s communication to the public about the load shed to be inadequate and recommended the company begin communicating load-shed events in the same way it would power outages caused by storms.
“Historically they haven’t. They’ve treated [load-shed events] differently from outages, but they need to communicate them to the public in the same way, because the end result is the same — the public doesn’t have electricity,” Denn said.
The PSC expects National Grid to complete implementation of all of its recommendations within 60 days from receipt of the staff report.