BY BENJAMIN MANDILE
Con Edison announced Monday that it will stop all meter readings and installation of smart readers due to concerns of the growing coronavirus pandemic.
Despite this change of service, the energy company, which serves 3.5 million customers locally, remains committed to keeping New Yorkers safe with reliable services.
“Nothing is more important than health and safety,” said Tim Cawley, president of Con Edison.
Workers of Con Edison will only enter customer’s homes for emergencies, safety-related inspections, customer-requested service connections and enhancements.
A Con Edison spokesperson said that if a customer is in need of a new connection, the energy company will be available to address that and it is up to the customer if they will allow workers onto the premises to complete the work.
All Con Edison employees needing to enter homes will carry proper identification, according to the investor-owned energy company that delivers natural gas, electricity and steam to 3.5 million customers in New York City and Westchester County.
The company requests that customers with appointments for service advise workers if anyone on the premises is quarantined due to the COVID-19 virus.
Con Edison has previously taken other steps to keep customers and its employees safe.
These steps include stopping shutoffs of electric, natural gas or steam service due to non-payment related to the health crisis; waiving new late-payment charges and suspending the fee charged to customers for being unable to grant access to their property; temporarily shutting down customer walk-in centers; and temporarily stopping energy efficiency service visits to homes and businesses in NYC and Westchester County.
The company will continue to shut off service when a safety issue arises and has said that residential customers can pay their bill in “other convenient ways” including paying online at coned.com, by mail with a check or money order and by phone at 888-925-5016. Fees associated with making payments with credit and debit cards are being waived as of Monday night.
A spokesperson told QNS on March 24 that while the company is not sure how many customers are unable to pay due to the virus, they will not be terminating service to anyone at this time due to inability to pay in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
Administrative employees have been instructed to work from home with about 6,500 employees out of 15,000 working remotely. Field personnel conduct pre-job briefings in smaller groups and are dividing workers into teams.
Information about Con Edison and its decisions related to the novel COVID-19 virus can be found at www.coned.com/en/about-us/media-center/news/coronavirus/updates.
“While many of our work activities have been put on hold, we are focusing on system infrastructure work that ensures safety and reliability,” said Cawley.