Brian Pugh: Reviewing Performance of Our Utilities in the Recent Storms

To The Editor:brian-pugh-group-cropped

After Hurricane Sandy left customers without power for days on end, Con Edison announced a $1 billion upgrade program to harden the electric grid against future storms. Following this week’s Nor’Easter, Con Edison’s performance must be reviewed carefully.

Con Edison’s storm-hardening upgrades were used to justify​ ​recent​t ​rate increases . Con Edison, a for-profit corporation with an effective monopoly on electrical service, also substantially boosted dividends to shareholders and compensation for key executives in the years after Sandy.
​Our Village government has been in regular contact with Con Edison since the storm struck. It’s not clear that they will reach their own estimates for power restoration.​​ ​Although Croton is not not as severely affected as other Westchester communities, power outages have plagued hundreds of households since the Nor’Easter.​ ​For some this is a minor inconvenience, for others, a major disruption if not a potential personal catastrophe.​ ​

As of this writing (Tuesday), it’s too early to make a final judgment. However, anecdotal evidence indicates that many Con Edison customers have been underwhelmed by the company’s storm response so far.

After the dust settles, Con Edison’s handling of the storm must be carefully reviewed. If ​further analysis show​s​ Con Ed to have failed ratepayers,​ ​we must work with our colleagues in government to ensure​ ​our utilities are​ ​held accountable and are made to do better.

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