WPCNR THE LETTER TICKER. From Thomas Abinanti, Assemblyman 92nd Assembly District August 9, 2020:
“Con Edison’s response to Isaias in Westchester has been wholly inadequate—a management fiasco” said Westchester Assemblyman Tom Abinanti (D, 92nd AD) as he called for an immediate change in Con Ed’s management team and then the decertification of Con Ed for Westchester County.
“In the short run, we need Con Ed to re-arrange its management – to put in place people who will better prioritize, bring in the necessary workers and coordinate with local governments to restore power to our communities,” stated the Westchester Assemblyman. “In the long run, we need to unplug Con Edison and replace it with a new power provider for Westchester.”
Three full days (NOW FOUR-1/2) after the end of Isaias in Westchester, Con Ed still has not yet opened over 250 of the 570 roads closed due to the storm; still has more than half of the outages remaining; and assembled an on-the-street work force of less than half of the workers they set out to deploy.
“Con Ed has stripped its workforce to a mere shadow of what it used to be,” said the Westchester Assembly member. “Con Ed’s business model is to profit its shareholders at the expense of the public’s safety. Con Ed’s reliance on ‘mutual aid’ from neighboring utility companies has again been proven to be a faulty strategy which does not timely deliver enough on-the-street workers.”
Abinanti notes that Con Ed’s response was “a poor plan, poorly executed.” He commended Con Ed employees on the street, but said “there have been far too few of them.” He highlighted Con Ed’s continuing failure to coordinate with local governments who have been far ahead of Con Ed in their storm response and who have been stymied by Con Ed poor response because only certain Con Ed crews can de-electrify He criticized Con Ed’s failure to inform the public and meet the public’s needs.
Abinanti’s statement is a reprise of his efforts in 2012 after “Superstorm” Sandy when he sent a sent a letter to then Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino requesting that the County of Westchester Public Utility Service Agency (COWPUSA) to initiate proceedings before the New York State Public Service Commission to decertify Con Ed in Westchester County.
“Con Ed’s response to Sandy is just another example of Con Ed’s long term neglect of Westchester’s residents and businesses,” Abinanti noted in 2012.
Con Ed, a public utility and monopoly, is charged and has total control of the delivery of electricity and gas to the people and businesses in its service area.
“I have tried to work constructively with Con Ed for a long time – and I am quite disappointed to see such a management failure again,” said Abinanti. “Clearly, they learned nothing from their failed responses to previous storms and the reports and criticisms that followed.”