WASHINGTON, DC -- Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY-16) ripped Con Edison’s request for rate increases after their abysmal performance in restoring power in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Close to a million customers in Westchester County and New York City lost power during that storm, and tens of thousands of them were without power for close to two weeks. Con Edison requested the raise, it said, to help pay for improvements and upgrades in their storm protection procedures.
“Con Edison has some nerve asking New Yorkers to help them foot the bill for their incompetent preparation and inexcusable response time. It was a disgrace for the company to be unable to respond properly, especially after Hurricane Irene exposed their inadequacies a mere 12 months earlier. Now, instead of digging deep into their own profits – or exploring the options presented by the federal government in the Sandy relief bill – they fall back on their old operating methodology of making the victim pay, in this case Con Edison customers.
“New Yorkers already pay some of the highest rates in the country and have little to show for those exorbitant rates in the form of service dependability. When they have been in the most need, Con Edison has failed them and now adds insult to injury by asking for more money. The responsibility for Con Edison’s repeated failures lies with Con Edison, and should be handled by no one other than Con Edison. If they are incapable of handling this responsibility, perhaps that proves we need strong regulators with the teeth required to hold Con Edison, and other utilities responsible for their actions, or their failure to act.”