New bill would increase oversight of PSEG after research lab left without power by Tropical Storm Isaias

When Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory lost it’s connection to the Long Island electric grid, research couldn’t be done.

“All of the COVID research was halted, cancer research was halted, neuroscience research was halted,” said Stephen Monez, VP/Chief Facilities Officer. “There’s an enormous amount of research that goes on in that facility that was halted for seven days.”

Lab officials say it shouldn’t have been seven days especially since they’re supposed to be on PSEG’s critical facility list.

In a statement, the company said they had numerous interactions and escalated the job accordingly, but Cold Spring Harbor disagrees.

“It was always the next day, noon tomorrow, midnight the next day, this went on and on for the next 3-4 days,” Monez said.

State Senator Jim Gaughran proposed new legislation this week that would give the Public Service Commission more authority.

“They could fine PSEG and they could also force them to pay Cold Spring Harbor Lab for the costs,” St. Sen. Gaughran said.

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is testifying to the State Senate and Assembly in a joint public hearing on the power and communication failures from tropical storm Isaias. Moving forward Officials hope changes will be made and PSEG and LIPA will be held accountable.

“The lab should have certain resources and tools provided to us from PSEG as a critical facility including the ability to mobilize temporary generators on a prolonged power outage,” Monez said.

A spokesperson for LIPA, the company responsible for the oversight of PSEG LI said it’s unacceptable that Critical Facilities remained without power for a week. They’re reviewing protocols for Critical Facility customers, to ensure swift improvements moving forward.

The state is asking PSEG to undertake corrective actions over the next 10 days to ensure they are able to handle future events.

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