BUFFALO, NY -- The first two of four public hearings on RG&E's and NYSEG's preparation for and response to the severe windstorms in March took place Wednesday in East Aurora.

The windstorms swept through parts of Western New York and the Finger Lakes and caused widespread power outages March 8 and 9. In total, about 100,000 customers went without power during that time. 

The public hearings are in response to Governor Andrew Cuomo calling for an investigation on March 11. 

Following widespread power outages in the state after Superstorm Sandy, the Governor directed the Department and the Public Service Commission to strengthen storm response plans. 

The Public Service Commission had approved both RG&E's and NYSEG's plans last year. They also approved updates at a March 9th session. 

To promote effective emergency preparation and response, the rules require that the electric company's performance be assessed after any significant outage. 

There are four public statement hearings scheduled:

Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at 2 and 6 p.m.

Southside Commerce Center Auditorium, 300 Gleed Avenue, East Aurora

Thursday, April 13, 2017 at 2 and 6 p.m.

Monroe Community College, Brighton Campus, Building 3, Forum Room, 1000 East Henrietta Road, Rochester

If you wish to comment, you will be able to do so at any of those meetings. There is no need to make an appointment in advance or present any written copy of your statement. 

If you are not able to make it to a public hearing, comments can be made online or by mail.

Go to www.dps.ny.gov, click on "Search", enter the Matter 17-00540 and then click on "Post Comments".

Comments can also be emailed to the Secretary at secretary@dps.ny.gov. 

Comments can also be mailed or delivered to Secretary Kathleen H. Burgess at the New York State Department of Public Service, Three Empire State Plaza, Albany, New York 12223-1350.

Comments can also be called in on the Department's Opinion Line at 1-800-335-2120.