The Public Service Commission today announced it is directing ConEd to develop a contingency plan to address the New York City area’s energy needs in the even the controversial nuclear power plant Indian Point in Westchester County closes.

“A growing, vibrant economy requires an energy production and delivery system that provides the stable foundation companies need to invest in their facilities and workforce, to expand operations and hire new workers,” said Commission Chairman Garry Brown. “In addition to strengthening the economy, the Energy Highway will enhance New York State’s investment in clean energy production.”

The annonucement comes after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a Moreland Act Commission to examine the state’s utilities and their response to storms Sandy, Irene and Lee and the subsequent power outages.

The Indian Point facility is roughly 30 miles north of Manhattan in Westchester County. The plant is owned and operated by Entergy Nuclear Northeast.

Cuomo has been critical of the plant both as governor and as attorney general. During the Fukushima nucelar plant crisis in Japan in the aftermath of an earthquak and Tsunami, Cuomo said placing Indian Point so close to a fault line and near the city “was never a good idea.”

But the problem with retiring the aging plant has always been its major necessity as an energy provider to the downstate region by providing roughly a third of the area’s power.

Concurrently, the PSC announced that the state would also examin the “exisiting barriers” to increasing the use of natural gas by both residential and business customers and make it easier to use that energy source.