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Release Date: January 20, 2006

On January 18th Westchesterresidents experienced a major wind storm. Many trees fell – causing power failures. Many residents, including myself, were out of power for a few days. Some local schools were closed because Con Ed was unable to get the power turned on near the schools.  Con Ed’s response time to complaints was very poor. Even Con Ed workers complained to some constituents about the inadequate evening resources used to get power turned on in a timely manner. I saw some Con Ed cars out on the road – with people in the car, doing nothing during the evening hours.

The NY State Public Service Commission should conduct an investigation. Did Con Ed have adequate resources available? Were enough crews called out during evening hours? Did Con Ed prioritize the repair job correctly---for example, should schools have been given more priority? Because Con Ed was unable to get power turned on – various schools were closed, creating hardships to the districts and to parents.  Were the needs of the elderly and disabled addressed?  Did Con Ed give priority attention to nursing homes/independent living centers? I received calls from a senior housing complex – they were out of power for an entire evening. If the weather conditions were colder some of the elderly and disabled could have experienced life threatening problems. Did local governments react efficiently – could local governments have done anything differently to expedite the repair process?

A suggestion: When there is an emergency local police and fire districts take advantage of mutual assistance from other power companies in other states. Con Ed should enter into an agreement with other power agencies from neighboring states. If there is a blackout/power failure here they should call in power companies from neighboring locations to assist in getting power turned on in a timely manner.

The NY State Public Service Commission, Con Ed, local public safety officials should review what happened after the storm of January 18th. This was a wind storm, not a category 5 hurricane.  We must learn from this experience and make sure that if we experience a future wind storm that the response time improves.


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