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Queens Electeds Call for Full Rebate of August Electricity Bills for Thousands of Customers Who Lost Power

Queens elected officials condemn Con Edison’s restoration efforts, as thousands of borough customers are still without power a week after Tropical Storm Isaias (Assembly Member Nily Rozic/ Twitter)

Aug. 11, 2020 By Allie Griffin

Queens elected officials are calling on Con Edison to provide thousands of Queens customers with rebates after being left without power for days following Tropical Storm Isaias.

Acting Borough President Sharon Lee brought together a consortium of local lawmakers to Borough Hall to condemn the company’s response in restoring power, as nearly 2,500 Queens households still remain without electricity a week after the storm.

“Con Edison failed Queens in the immediate and extended wake of Tropical Storm Isaias, depriving us – at length – the necessary urgency, service and communications that we are owed as customers without a choice,” Lee said.

High gusts of up to 70 miles per hour took down large trees and power lines during the storm last Tuesday and left 73,000 households in Queens without power in the direct aftermath, according to Lee.

“I urge Con Edison to offer immediate and full rebates to the 73,000 Queens customers on this month’s bill to remedy this disproportionate and inequitable restoration,” she said. “It is the very least Con Edison can do.”

Tropical Storm Isaias caused tens of thousands of households in Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Staten Island to lose electricity, but the World’s Borough saw the most outages.

Queens electeds said Con Edison’s restoration efforts were not equal across the boroughs.

The representatives slammed Con Edison’s “disproportionate” pace and “inequitable” response in Queens, where less residents had power restored as promptly as the other boroughs.

In the first 48 hours after the storm, the company had only restored 59 percent of outages in Queens versus 89 percent in Brooklyn and 81 percent on Staten Island. The varied response and delay continued over the course of the week.

“Con Edison’s recovery following Tropical Storm Isaias has been inadequate, sporadic and unacceptable,” New York State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky said. “I understand restoring power to 73,000 homes in Queens is a difficult task, but leaving thousands without power nearly a week after the storm is just plain dangerous.”

The lawmakers agreed that the company should be investigated and held accountable. Some also argued that the city should transition to public power, instead of relying on a private company like Con Edison which has a monopoly.

Last Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed the State Department of Public Service to launch an investigation of Con Edison and other New York utilities’ following their response to Tropical Storm Isaias.

“While Queens residents have been left in the dark and at risk, it is clear that ConEd’s woeful inability to handle the City’s power must be investigated,” New York State Assemblymember Nily Rozic said.

Con Edison said the vast majority of customers who lost power due to the storm had it restored by Sunday night.

Crews are continuing to work 24/7 to restore electricity to the outstanding customers, a spokesperson said. The company said this was the worst storm it has faced in this territory, behind Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

“Con Edison is completely focused on restoring power as safely and quickly as possible to every customer,” the company spokesperson said.

“After every major storm event we perform a thorough analysis of what can be improved and we’ll do the same following the second worst storm in the history of our service territory.”

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