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Maloney Calls for Congressional Review of Isaias Response & Long-Term Power Outages Ahead of Hurricane Season

Aug 11, 2020
Press Release

Maloney Calls for Congressional Review of Isaias Response & Long-Term Power Outages Ahead of Hurricane Season

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) wrote to Energy and Commerce Committee Chair, Frank Pallone, calling on the committee to investigate the length of time it took to restore power to Isaias-impacted regions like the Hudson Valley and work with utility companies to develop long-term solutions to harden our infrastructure and increase resiliency.

“Nobody should be without power for seven days, we need to find out what went wrong here and put forward legislation to help make sure we harden our infrastructure so we are ready for the increasingly severe storm seasons,” said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney.  “As we enter what is expected to be an extremely active hurricane season, we need to push forward long-term, future-looking solutions so families can count on the power being there when they need it most.”

Tropical Storm Isaias left hundreds of thousands of homes in the Hudson Valley without power – some for as many as seven days.

Ahead of what National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting to be an “extremely active” hurricane season with as many as 25 storms, Rep. Maloney met with representatives from Central Hudson, Orange & Rockland, and NYSEG on Monday. Together they discussed the need to harden our infrastructure by improving resiliency, creating smarter grids, providing back up power for essential telecommunications infrastructure, building better batteries, and burying lines when and where they can.

Following the meeting, Congressman Maloney wrote to Chairman Pallone calling for a review of the Tropical Storm Isaias response. Posts from the meeting can be viewed here and here.

A copy of the letter to Chairman Pallone can be found here and below.


The Honorable Frank Pallone, Jr.


House Committee on Energy and Commerce

2123 Rayburn HOB

Washington, DC 20515


Dear Chairman Pallone:


I write to you today regarding the large-scale power outages which resulted from the devastating effects of Tropical Storm Isaias. In the aftermath of the storm more than 1 million people found themselves without power and no clear answer on when they could expect relief. I know that you share my concern for the millions of Americans across the country coping with record summer heat and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and I ask that the Energy and Commerce Committee examine the overall recovery response in Isaias-impacted regions like the Hudson Valley.


Poor planning has compounded an already difficult situation for many Americans. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to escalate across the US, millions are working from home in order to combat the spread. Recent news reports detail accounts of people lining up at libraries to access the internet and charge their devices. Not only does this impact the livelihoods of many families, it threatens to worsen the spread of this deadly virus. Additionally, with much of the country facing record high temperatures this summer, many older Americans and vulnerable populations could be facing life-threatening conditions if they are forced to go days without power.


The aftermath of this storm has exposed serious gaps with the country’s response plans for natural disaster recovery during the pandemic. This is concerning as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting an “extremely active” hurricane season with as many as twenty-five named storms coming this year. I know that, under your leadership, the Energy and Commerce Committee has prioritized natural disaster preparedness. We must learn from Isaias, determine what went wrong, and enact forward looking policies before another disaster strikes. In particular, I believe we should consider legislation to provide additional federal support and financing to help invest in more resilient electrical and telecommunications infrastructure, including hardening powerlines, burying critical lines, and providing battery and backup generators.


I know that your committee continues to provide robust oversight of the nation’s energy infrastructure. I believe the that the wide-spread outages resulting from Tropical Storm Isaias warrant further examination by the Energy and Commerce Committee and provide us with an opportunity to improve how we prepare for and respond to disasters.  Thank you for your time and attention to this critical matter.