Con Ed Faces $25 Million in Penalties, Possible Loss of License after Power Outages in July, 2019
By Yehudit Garmaise
Con Edison’s inadequate responses to large-scale power outages in both Brooklyn and Manhattan in July of 2019 could result in the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) charging the utility company penalties of $25 million, which would add to the $15 million the Commission already reduced from Con Ed’s revenues already after 33,000 Brooklyn residents lost their power for two days.
In addition, 73,000 people in Manhattan lost their power for four hours and 50 minutes, and the power outages negatively affected many businesses, the city’s transportation systems, and traffic control.
As a result, the New York State PSC, which is questioning the company's performance and efforts to communicate critical outage information to customers, first responders, and elected officials, also is threatening to revoke Con Ed’s license, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today.
"Like so many New Yorkers, I was outraged when this blackout occurred," Gov. Cuomo said. "Utilities are well-paid by consumers to keep the lights on, and Con Edison failed miserably to perform the essence of their agreement with customers. I immediately directed the PSC to conduct a thorough investigation of the outage to determine who was to blame. I will do everything I can to make sure New Yorkers are compensated."
Because the Con Ed power outages that took place July 2019 were not storm-related, they called into question whether the company can ensure reliable service during severely inclement weather.
"A utility's first and most important job is to ensure the safety and reliability of its delivery system. Based upon the results of our thorough investigation, it appears that Con Edison has failed in that task, and as a result, we will now consider ways to penalize the company for its apparent failures, while also directing them to make improvements to ensure repeats do not happen again," said Public Service Commission Chair John B. Rhodes.