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Charge Con Ed under-reimbursed for ’06 blackout

The current heat wave is bringing back painful memories for some western Queens residents and business owners who four years ago this week were left without power for up to nine days.

However, those painful feelings turned into a renewed fury as Pace University released a study that showed Con Edison severely under-compensated residents and businesses for their losses during the blackout.

“This study proves what our community has known for the last four years. The deal made with Con Edison severely under compensated us for damages caused by the blackout,” said Queens Assemblymember Michael Gianaris, who represents western Queens and has been one of the staunchest critics of the utility giant. “The only way to avoid continuing abuses in the future is to dramatically reform Con Edison once and for all.”

Pace Energy and Climate Center along with other organizations released a study that said residents accumulated roughly $77 million in losses while businesses experienced roughly $188 million in losses. However, Con Ed actually reimbursed residential customers about $12 million for losses and businesses $5 million – well below the study amounts.

“Our study puts some numbers and personal testimony on how the loss of power adversely affects the daily lives of customers and businesses in an entire urban community,” Jamie Van Nostrand, the Executive Director of the Energy and Climate Center and manager of the study, said. “The kind of data utility companies compile do not capture the economic and health impacts that customers experience during an extended power outage.”

Meanwhile, Con Ed said in a statement that since 2006, “it has made substantial changes in its operational and communication procedures, including significant improvements in tracking customer outages.” In addition, it has invested more than $5 billion in infrastructure enhancements throughout its entire system.

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