New York looks at using scorecards to assess utilities’ outage response

New York state regulators are seeking comments on a draft scorecard that will quantitatively assess electric utility performance in restoring electric power after a significant outage (Case 13-E-0140).

The areas addressed by the scorecard are: the advance preparation of each utility before a significant outage; the ability of each company to restore service after such outage; and each company’s communication during such an outage, according to the state Public Service Commission’s (PSC) April 24 notice soliciting comments.

The scorecard is being developed in the context of newly enacted changes to the Public Service Law (PSL), which requires increased PSC oversight of utility emergency response plans and gives the PSC authority to assess civil penalties against utilities. The PSL requires that the PSC review and approve electric emergency response plans filed annually by electric corporations and specifies subject areas to be covered in the emergency response plans. Electric utility emergency plans are being processed for eventual PSC review and approval in separate parallel dockets.

The PSC also said that the scorecard will help it in its evaluation of utility performance, its determination of whether to assess a penalty and the magnitude of the penalty to be assessed.

All points in the scorecard add up to 1,000 points with the preparation category at 100 points, operational response 600 points and communications 300 points.

The PSC added that it is seeking comments on certain questions, including:

  • Are scorecard criteria appropriate? Are the scorecard criteria weighted appropriately?
  • Are there other aspects of utility emergency plans that should be assured by scorecard criteria?
  • Should the scorecard be assessed only in totality or on an individual category basis?

Comments are due by June 10.

The PSC noted that accurate and timely estimated time of restoration (ETRs) continues to be an area in which the utilities need to improve. Also, ETRs furnished by utilities should be appropriate to the distribution of the communication vehicle. For instance, ETRs in press releases should reflect the area where the press release is distributed.

Among other things, the PSC also said that each utility will be required to provide data with which the scorecard can be completed on a per event basis within 30 days of the completion of restoration. State Department of Public Service staff will use the information provided by the utility in its review and determine a score for each event for each utility.

According to an April 18 statement from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the proposed scorecard builds on the work of the Moreland Commission on Utility Storm Preparation and Response, the New York State (NYS) Ready Commission and the NYS Respond Commission, convened by Cuomo after Hurricane Sandy, which made landfall near Atlantic City, N.J., in October 2012, as a post-tropical cyclone.

“Holding utilities accountable to such standards [to promote effective emergency preparation and response by utilities in the restoration of power] will ensure that they have the ability, capacity, and mindset to act quickly and effectively,” Cuomo said in the statement.

The development of a quantitative metrics scorecard is the result of newly enacted changes to the Public Service Law advanced by Cuomo and codified as part of the 2013-2014 state budget, the statement added.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 2843 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 14 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.