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PSC to audit staffing levels of National Grid, other major utilities

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The state Public Service Commission’s board of directors approved an independent operations audit Thursday of the state’s major utilities.

The audit, which will focus on staffing levels and core functions of utilities, will include National Grid’s electric and gas operations in upstate New York, Consolidation Edison of New York, Central Hudson Gas & Electric, National Fuel Gas Distribution Co., Orange and Rockland Utilities, Rochester Gas & Electric Corp. and New York State Electric & Gas Corp. A consultant to be hired by the PSC is expected to complete the audit by August 2015, according to an agency press release.

“This audit will examine and identify utility best practices to better understand the appropriate mix of internal and contract staffing levels needed to ensure the continuation of safe and reliable service,” Audrey Zibelman, PSC chairwoman, said in the release. “This audit will evaluate and recommend possible changes to ensure utilities do a better job in performing core functions related to service, reliability, safety and customer service.”

The decision by the PSC board comes after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo underscored the importance of holding utilities accountable during his State of the State speech this month.

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