Governor Cuomo publicizes Con Edison fines of $ 25 million for outages associated to energy outages in Manhattan and Brooklyn in 2019
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced today that Con Edison has fined $ 25 million and a possible revocation of the license by the New York City after an investigation into the utility company’s failed response to major power outages in Manhattan and Brooklyn in July 2019 State Public Service Commission is facing. The utility company has the option to appeal the penalties. However, should the Commission confirm any of these apparent violations and demonstrate that Con Edison has not provided a safe and adequate service, the Commission will initiate proceedings to revoke or change the Con Edison service area certificate. The potential US $ 25 million fines are added to the US $ 15 million revenue cuts that the Commission has already requested for Con Edison in 2019 due to the same failures.
“Like so many New Yorkers, I was outraged when this blackout occurred” Governor Cuomo said. “Consumers are well paid by consumers to keep the lights on and Con Edison has failed miserably to fulfill the essence of their agreement with customers. I immediately directed the PSC to conduct a thorough investigation of the failure to determine who is to blame. I. I will do everything I can to make sure the New Yorkers are compensated. “
Outages such as those that occurred in the Con Edison service area in July 2019 that were not related to storms call into question the company’s ability to provide reliable service in bad weather.
In the summer of 2019, Con Edison experienced two significant failure events eight days apart. The first occurred on Saturday, July 13, 2019 at approximately 6.47 p.m. That four hours and 50 minute outage resulted in approximately 73,000 customers losing power service on Manhattan’s West Side from 5th Avenue to the Hudson River and from 31st Street to 71st Street. The second failure event began on Saturday, July 21, 2019 in Brooklyn in the Flatbush system and resulted in the loss of power for around 33,000 customers within two days.
The outages affected commercial activities, residential buildings, transportation systems and traffic control. Lights went out in many of New York City’s popular nighttime destinations and public places such as Madison Square Garden, Broadway theaters, Carnegie Hall, and restaurants. The subway system had widespread delays and limited service as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority had to close various stations in Manhattan. While the underlying causes and conditions for these customer outages were different, the outage events in Manhattan and Brooklyn caused the Department of Public Service, the company’s performance during these events, and the company’s efforts to communicate critical outage information to customers, first responders, and the elected, to question officials.
The department began an investigation into the causes and performance of the company during the outage events in Manhattan and Brooklyn. The department’s detailed 13-month investigation resulted in a report containing 13 recommendations related to the Manhattan outage event and 27 recommendations related to the Brooklyn event.
John B. Rhodes, Chairman of the Public Service Commission, said: “The first and foremost job of a utility company is to ensure the safety and reliability of its delivery system. Based on the results of our thorough investigation, Con Edison appears to have failed on this task and as a result we will now examine the company’s options for its obvious Punish mistakes while instructing them to make improvements to ensure repetitions don’t recur. ”
As a result of this investigation, Con Edison is now instructed to respond to these allegations of conduct before, during and after the Manhattan and Brooklyn outages and to impose civil and / or administrative penalties for failure to comply with rules and procedures related to failure prevention and recovery . Under current law, the maximum financial penalty for Con Edison is more than $ 25 million – one of the largest penalties ever imposed by the PSC. The penalties, if any, would be paid by the utility’s shareholders, not out of customer-borne interest-paying monies.
This review of Con Edison’s performance during the Manhattan and Brooklyn outages in 2019 identified many opportunities for improvement that should be resolved by implementing and following the recommendations. In order to ensure the timely implementation of the recommendations, Con Edison is instructed to respond within 30 days regarding both the implementation of the recommendations and why the PSK should not pursue sanctions against the utility.