PARKER POWER TALK: Con Ed Rewrites the Weather Forecasts. Disputes it Had Adequate Notices of the March Storms

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WPCNR THE LETTER TICKER. From  Westchester County Legislator Catherine Parker. June 11, 2018:

On Monday, June 4th, my colleagues at the Board of Legislators and I continued our meetings with Con Edison over the power outage experienced during the nor’easter in early March. I am sad to report that Con Ed once again left us feeling rather dissatisfied with several of their answers. Con Ed also started their discussion that day by disputing the fact that they had ample notice that a nor’easter was expected, and not just a regular winter storm. How is it that the average Westchester resident, courtesy of the Journal News (Potential nor’easter could deliver strong winds and rain Thursday and Friday – February 26) knew 3 days before the storm hit, but Con Edison was caught off guard? Their excuse for failing to have mutual aid on the ground ready to work as soon as the storm let up because they didn’t have enough time was infuriating.

I continued to press Con Ed and asked them about their billing methodology. Using an actual electric bill I identified that almost half of the $220 monthly bill was to cover maintenance on the system. Look at your Con Ed bill. Don’t you wonder what Con Ed is doing with that portion of your money? I know I do. Knowing how expensive this equipment must be, and how much of our money goes toward properly maintaining it, I had asked Con Ed at a prior meeting what the average lifespan of a transformer was. During the time that many of us had lost service, I had heard of out of state crews remarking on the aging equipment that they were sent to repair. I felt it was important to get a baseline. One member of the Con Ed team responded that transformers can go on “forever until they don’t.” Finding that response unacceptable, my staff (which included four interns from Mamaroneck High School) and I decided to do our own research. We reviewed Public Service Commission testimony and reports from prior storms, including the 402 page Comprehensive Management and Operations Audit of Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), which led Governor Cuomo to end LIPA and “create a new utility company on Long Island that puts ratepayers first.” In that report, we were able to identify many of the answers that Con Ed was not able to provide.

We will continue to pursue answers and ultimately solutions to get better electrical service in our community.  If we don’t, the precedent that was set on Long Island could be an option for Westchester County.

Click here to view my questioning of Con Ed:

If you want to watch the entire two hour meeting, click on this link:

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