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Engel: 'Con Ed Has Some Nerve' Asking for Hike

The utility company is seeking a 3% rate increase.

Engel: 'Con Ed Has Some Nerve' Asking for Hike

Con Edison, in the wake of extended outages caused by Hurricane Sandy, has applied for $400 million in rate increases—or 3 percent.

According to WCBS-TV, a typical bill for Westchester residents would rise from $114.41 to $118.

The utility company request has to go through the state Public Service Commission. If it's approved, the rate hikes will go into effect in January 2014, WCBS-TV said.

Con Ed spokesman Mike Clendenin was quoted by WCBS-TV as saying, “We want to really strengthen our systems, storm harden if you will, because of what we’ve been seeing over the past couple of years, ending with Sandy.”

Rep. Eliot Engel, D-District 16, who represents parts of Westchester County, was not pleased with the announced request.

He issued the following press release Monday:

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 .”

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