Home Energy Elected officials blast utility companies

Elected officials blast utility companies

As power outages enter into their second week, elected officials are turning up the heat on Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. and New York State Electric and Gas Corporation (NYSEG).

More than 110,000 Hudson Valley residents remain without power, as temperatures start to drop below freezing. At his afternoon briefing on Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo railed against utility companies and promised that they would be held accountable.

“To say that I am angry, frustrated would be the understatement of the decade,” Cuomo said at the press conference. “I think the utility companies have not performed adequately. I promise the people of this state that they will be held accountable for their lack of performance. These were not God-given monopolies.”

County Executive Rob Astorino said he would climb utility poles himself if it would help restore power, and agreed with Cuomo that the response was unacceptable.

“There are still about 61,000 customers without power and that is far too many,” Astorino said. “I have told Con Edison and NYSEG that those numbers need to drop dramatically by tomorrow.”

In Yonkers, more than 8,000 residents entered their second week without power. Mayor Mike Spano said he has frequently heard people ask, “Where is Con Ed?”

“It is evident that Yonkers has been overlooked by Con Ed in its restoration efforts since Hurricane Sandy hit,” Spano said. “Time is overdue for Con Ed to step it up. Utility companies need to come to terms with the fact that this is a new climate. Con Ed was not prepared.”

Spano called for state officials to hold public hearings about the storm response and said that he looks forward to attending them.

In Greenburgh, Supervisor Paul Feiner has been critical of Con Edison in his many e-mail blasts sent to the public, updating residents about the state of the town. Almost 5,000 residents entered a second week without power.

“Some local governments haven’t even had Con Ed crews assigned to them,” Feiner said on Monday. “Inadequate crews are being sent to local governments to help with restoration of power.”

Feiner said he is becoming stressed out when he gets phone calls from people with residents with several illnesses.

“I think that Con Ed should hire licensed electricians and have different crews work around the clock,” Feiner said.

Feiner advocated that residents file complaints with the Public Service Commission, which oversees utility companies at www3.dps.ny.gov/ocs/itgate.nsf/webDPS_Complaint?OpenForm&Seq=2#_RefreshKW_Utility_ID.

1 COMMENT

  1. Ok – So officials SAY they are angry…the question remains what the hell are they going to do about it? ConEd is not going to listen to pleas for improving the infrastructure. They have obviously ignored and pushed back on any attempt to modernize the grid. The question is – what kind of pressure can regulators assert to divert the fat 4% dividend that shareholders enjoy to desperately needed infrastructure upgrades? How can regulators tap into the 15% profit increase that ConEd enjoyed during their 3rd quarter at our expense.

    Rest assured the status-quo is not acceptable. Leaving people for weeks at a time without heat and electricity costs LIVES. There are elderly and infirm people putting up with hardships that simply shouldn’t be allowed. Let’s not even begin to discuss the impact on local businesses that have overhead costs that don’t go away even though they are being forced to shut down operations for weeks at a time because ConEd can’t keep the lights on.

    Recently there was a meeting about retaining the hearts and minds of young people who are abandoning Westchester in droves in favor of NYC…..Well most of NYC has lights and heat – and things returned to normal fairly fast – even though the storm surge impacted NYC more than Westchester. Why? THE LINES WERE BURIED!!!! We have to bury the lines – but God forbid ConEd should have pay a thin dime towards doing what they should have been held responsible for doing years ago!

    Talk is talk….I want to see some real pressure applied and I want to see ConEd’s feet held to the fire. They need to be FORCED to do the right thing. But I doubt that our officials have the backbone to do so. If that’st the case, I will be leaving Westchester sooner than later. I can no longer afford to pay top-dollar for the 4th rate services more akin to 3rd world nation.

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