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Cuomo launches probe of utilities companies

Governor Andrew Cuomo is launching a Moreland Act investigation into the state’s utilities companies, which he says he hopes will result in a complete overhaul of New York’s power distribution system.

Cuomo says he launched the Moreland Act probe, which has the power to subpoena witnesses and compel them to testify under oath, because the current power distribution system is broken. And the governor says it needs to be fixed now, before another devastating storm hits.

“I don’t want to lose the moment,” Cuomo said.

The governor says if there is a silver lining from Superstorm Sandy, it may be that there is now the political will in the legislature to take up what Cuomo says will be a “massive enterprise”  that he admits will be disruptive.

The governor has been particularly critical of the Long Island Power Authority, an entity that his father, former Governor Mario Cuomo, created more than 20 years ago. He says LIPA is “fatally flawed, and has been “beyond repair for a long, long time.

The Moreland Act Commission will be co-chaired by former New York state Attorney General Robert Abrams, and the state’s Superintendent of Financial Services Benjamin Lawsky.

Cuomo says he hopes to have the probe completed by early next year.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.