Cuomo ‘personally disappointed’ in Con Ed’s response to Isaias, threatens to pull license

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Governor Andrew Cuomo. (Photo by Mark Hallum)

Governor Andrew Cuomo warned Con Edison on Monday that their franchise can be revoked as power still has not been restored for many residents across the downstate region following the wreckage from Tropical Storm Isaias.

Con Edison is not the only one on notice from the governor; Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) is also under scrutiny for what Cuomo said is just another failure to prepare for a storm that could have been anticipated.

“This is an old story at this point. There will be storms and the utility companies know that. I’ve spoken to them about this numerous times. The essential service a utility provides is at this point preparing for a storm and recovering from a storm. That is the essential service, that is the art-form for a utility company. Con Ed and PSCNG have been doing a lousy job,” Cuomo said. “I’m personally disappointed in them… New Yorkers are fed up – especially Nassau and areas in the Con Ed jurisdiction – they are fed up and they’re right. I’m with them.”

The state’s Public Service Commission will lead an investigation into the response that is still ongoing, according to Cuomo. They will determine whether or not the utility companies pay fines, restitution or the franchises being revoked.

“Con Edison, your franchise can be revoked and I am as serious as a heart attack. PSEG, did you know your franchise can be revoked?” Cuomo asked. “That is a real possibility.”

Con Edison says 19,000 customers currently without service and include 15,000 in Westchester, 2,800 in Queens, 650 in the Bronx and 400 in Brooklyn despite Isaias blowing through about a week ago. The company has 3,800 workers in the field repair downed lines, removing fallen trees and rebuilding infrastructure in some places.

“We are completely focused on restoring power as safely and quickly as possible to every customer,” a spokesperson for Con Edison said. “After every major 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.“

Service in Westchester is expected to be back online by 11 p.m., according to Con Edison. In Queens, the hardest-hit areas include Ozone Park, South Ozone Park and Woodhaven.

“We have an army of crews dedicated to the task of safely restoring service to customers affected by the devastating storm,” Robert Schimmenti, Con Edison’s senior vice president of Electric Operations, said in a statement Monday. “It is our singular focus and will remain so until every customer is back in service.”

Attempts to reach PSEG were unsuccessful.