Michael Hervey, chief operating officer of the Long Island Power Authority, tendered his resignation Tuesday evening after weathering a storm of criticism over the utility’s response to Hurricane Sandy over the past two weeks.
Howard Steinberg, chairman of LIPA’s board of trustees, announced Hervey’s resignation, effective at the end of the year. The news comes on the night that LIPA said it had restored 99 percent of its customers after 90 percent of 1.1 million homes and businesses on LI were blacked out in the hurricane-nor’easter hybrid.
“Mike has provided 12 years of valuable service to LIPA, including taking on the responsibility to perform the functions of CEO of the organization over the past two years,” Steinberg said in a statement. “Mike has played a leadership role in connection with the planned structural changes at LIPA going forward which will result in better service and accountability to LIPA’s customers in the years ahead.”
The news comes as little surprise after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced plans to probe the response of all New York utilities, leading federal and local lawmakers in blaming the agency for not communicating better during its worst blackout ever. It also comes the same day a Melville attorney filed a lawsuit against LIPA over the Sandy cleanup.
More than 15,000 utility workers from across the country and Canada have been helping LIPA and National grid, the company that maintains its infrastructure, continues to repair the damage. LIPA counted more than 9,000 customers without power as of the announcement, excluding tens of thousands more in Nassau, Suffolk and the Rockaways that need structural repairs before they can safely receive electricity.