New York PSC seeks comments on draft scorecard to assess utilities’ outage response

New York state regulators are seeking comments by Sept. 19 on a draft scorecard, which is designed to serve as a guidance tool with which to assess each utility’s restoration after significant outages and to hold the utilities accountable to certain performance levels.

“We also see the scorecard as a guidance tool for utilities to understand the criteria we will use in assessing their outage performance in developing their emergency plans,” the state Public Service Commission said in its Aug. 19 notice soliciting comments.

Two parties submitted comments – New York City and the joint utilities, consisting of Central Hudson Gas & Electric, Consolidated Edison Company of New York (Con Edison), New York State Electric and Gas (NYSEG) Niagara Mohawk d/b/a National Grid USA, Orange and Rockland (O&R), Rochester Gas and Electric (RG&E)– after the PSC issued in April a notice soliciting comments to obtain input on the proposed draft scorecard.

A major concern of the joint utilities was that the criteria being used in many of the measures were unclear, the PSC added, noting that the scorecard now contains an “emergency response performance measurement guide” as a reference and provides clarification to the measures, definitions of start times and specifies the areas that will be reviewed to assess utility performance.

The revised documents are being issued to obtain further comments from interested parties in view of the revisions made to the April scorecard and the new material included in the emergency response performance measurement guide.

In the interim, if a major outage occurs, the utilities will be required to provide staff with data in accordance with the draft scorecard, and that data will allow staff to gain actual working knowledge on the appropriateness of the measures included in the scorecard, the PSC added.

As reported in April, the scorecard was 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.

According to the draft emergency response performance measures, preparation accounts for 10% of the total, operational response 60%, and communication 30%.

Preparation includes 100 points and the definition of the measure, “event anticipation,” entails completing steps to provide timely and accurate emergency event preparation following an alert from the National Weather Service or the company’s private weather service, in accordance with the company’s PSC-approved electric emergency plan, for an event expected to affect the company’s service territory. Measurement criteria include employees/contractors planning as well as press releases issued/text messages/emails sent.

Operational response includes 600 points and has such areas of interest as down wires, defined as the response to downed wires reported by a municipal emergency official, and utility coordination, which is the electric utility coordination with other utilities, such as electric, gas, communications and water.

Communication entails 300 points and its areas of interest include web availability, which calls for the company’s website to be available around the clock and updated at least hourly, until restoration is complete.

The emergency response performance measurement guide includes, among other things, common definitions. For instance, the start of an event is defined as the time when more than 5,000 customers are interrupted within a division for more than 30 minutes or more than 20,000 customers are interrupted companywide for more than 30 minutes.

Con Edison and O&R are subsidiaries of Consolidated Edison (NYSE:ED). Central Hudson’s holding company is CH Energy Group (NYSE:CHG). NYSEG and RG&E are subsidiaries of Iberdrola USA, which is a subsidiary of Iberdrola S.A. National Grid is a subsidiary of National Grid plc.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3107 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 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.