National Grid: Sandy played havoc with routine operations

Superstorm Sandy disrupted routine National Grid operations on Long Island late last year, and the company was not able to meet annual benchmarks for timely response to gas leaks and upgrades to gas pipes linking homes to street mains, the company said in a regulatory filing.

The utility company filed a petition Feb. 20 with the state Public Service Commission asking that it be exempted from financial penalties for failing to meet the targets. National Grid spokeswoman Wendy Ladd said it could cost the company "tens of thousands of dollars" if the commission does not grant its request.

Commission spokesman James Denn said the petition is being reviewed and no date is set for making a determination.


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The utility said that before Sandy hit on Oct. 29 it responded to reports of gas leaks within 30 minutes 76.38 percent of the time. That dropped after Sandy and ended at 73.82 percent for the year, below the target of 75 percent.

It also missed its annual target of 4,000 upgrades from mains to homes, falling short by 219, the utility said.

The company said it met its other 2012 targets for its Long Island operations -- dealing with damage prevention to company facilities and leak management -- and had met all performance targets in its other service areas in the state.

National Grid, through its subsidiary, KeySpan Energy Delivery Long Island -- which is not part of the Long Island Power Authority -- has 550,000 customers in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

KeySpan Energy "was engaged in an unprecedented effort to restore gas services to the almost 17,000 customers who lost service as a result of the storm," the state filing said. It said reports of gas leaks shot up to 2,505 calls during the two weeks after the storm, compared with an average of 1,044 odor calls during the same two-week period in the previous three years, the document said.

"Many of those post-storm leak calls were found to be unrelated to the company's gas system, including numerous calls for odors attributable to petroleum spills, sewage releases and malodorous debris resulting from property damage," the company filing said.

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