Hudson Valley News
6:35 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

A Rockland Town Is Better Prepared One Year After Hurricane Sandy

Credit WAMC/Allison Dunne

Elected, labor and utility officials in Rockland County today marked the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, saying the area is better prepared to handle a devastating storm. They announced an agreement with local labor they say should prevent a repeat of one of the major problems.

They stood on a residential street in New City, in the Town of Clarkstown, New York state Senator David Carlucci among them.

Carlucci, working with officials from Orange & Rockland Utilities, Clarkstown, and local labor, assisted in developing a plan to help reduce O&R’s storm response time, which was heavily criticized in the Sandy aftermath. Town highway crews could not clear trees before O&R de-energized downed wires. The solution is a memorandum of understanding, the first of its kind, according to Carlucci. O&R is joining forces with the Construction Industry Council and Laborers Local 17/754 by arranging to hire local union members for emergency support work for major storms. During Sandy, O&R hired nearly 3,000 emergency workers through contracts with companies in 31 states, plus Canada. Again, here’s Carlucci.

Here’s Clarkstown Highway Superintendent Wayne Ballard.

Labor officials say some 250 laborers have been specially trained to guard downed wires. The hope is that some 400 laborers will be trained, at a union site in Newburgh. Upon completion of training, laborers receive O&R’s emergency response training certificate.

Frank Peverly is vice president of operations for Orange & Rockland. He says O&R also is working on $35 million in projects to improve service.

Alex Gromack is Town of Clarkstown Supervisor. He talks about some improvements in his town over the past year.

Senator Carlucci, an Independent Democrat, introduced live wire legislation that is now law.

The law requires any gas or electric corporation in the state to annually submit an emergency response plan to the Public Service Commission for review and approval.

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