CON ED SHOULD REIMBURSE CUSTOMERS STILL OUT OF POWER--WOULD MOTIVATE THEM TO EXPEDITE RESTORATION OF SERVICE WHEN THERE ARE OUTAGES--510 STILL OUT OF POWER
IN CHICAGO, AFTER A 2013 OUTAGE, A JUDGE ORDERED UTILITY COMPANY TO REIMBURSE
FRIDAY RESTORATION OF POWER IS UNACCEPTABLE...
There are still 510 residents of Greenburgh out of power. And these 510 Greenburgh residents are FREEZING or staying in a hotel or with friends. Just spoke to a woman in who is spending $250 a night. The temperature inside her home is in the 30s. Her family will get sick if they are home. A child is already on antibiotics.
AN E MAIL FROM ONE OF THE MORE UNFORTUNATE RESIDENTS STILL FREEZING WITHOUT POWER...
As expected we are among the homes still without power, now expected to return only on Friday night
You are correct. It is freezing outside & not much warmer inside
We can’t leave our large dogs and so must endure another 3 days of this cold & dark
Anything you can do to encourage Con Ed to expedite the work would be appreciated
It's expensive. Currently, NYS law does not require Con Ed to reimburse residents who are out of power for their suffering, hotel bills, eating out or food spoilage issues.
I will be contacting the Governor's office, the NYS Public Service Commission, Con Ed and the NY State Legislature and will encourage them to reimburse customers for food spoilage, hotel bills, eating out. If they refuse to take this action for this storm - at the minimum they should reimburse customers who are still out of power during today's nor'easter.
I found this article from January 29,2013 in Chicago Business.com about a company ordered to cover some of customer's storm outage losses.
if Con Ed would be required to reimburse residents who are out of power for significant periods of time - they would have a greater incentive to expedite restoration of power.
I called the Greenburgh command center. There are fewer restoration vehicles in Greenburgh today than yesterday.
ComEd must cover some of customers' storm-outage losses: ICC judge
Commonwealth Edison Co. must reimburse customers who suffer losses after extensive power outages due to storms, an administrative law judge has determined.
But the circumstances in which ComEd would have to cover damages for customer losses such as food spoilage would be narrow, according to the Jan. 25 order, which now goes to the Illinois Commerce Commission for a final decision.
The proposed ruling comes in the context of the intense 2011 summer storm season, which knocked out the lights for hundreds of thousands of people, many for days at a time. ComEd had sought assurance from the ICC, which regulates utilities, that it wasn't liable for customer losses during a remarkably harsh storm season. After sorting through the precise cause of hundreds of thousands of outages and eliminating ones deemed “unpreventable,” the judge determined that 34,559 customers whose power was out for at least four hours after the storm of July 11 could be eligible for damages.
That was the worst storm of a summer full of them. The July 11 "derecho" knocked power out for more than 800,000 customers. More than 400,000 of those were in the dark for at least four hours, the threshold in state law for when utilities potentially must reimburse customers.
At least as important, the ruling would allow municipalities to seek reimbursement from utilities for the cost of providing emergency services during extended outages.
ComEd's position in the ICC case was that the state law doesn't apply to outages tied to intense summer storms. The utility argued that it could be liable for massive damages if it had to reimburse customers for the effects of weather events. Indeed, ComEd hasn't once paid damages since the law's 1997 passage.
“We think this is an important precedent,” said David Kolata, executive director of the consumer watchdog Citizens Utility Board, which called for the commission to rule that the state law on outage claims applies to storms. “We think the law was pretty clear in its intent. The argument (ComEd) made would have rendered it null and void and of no import.”
In a statement, ComEd said, "We understand the difficulties customers face when they're without electricity for any extended period. At the same time, we maintain that all of the interruptions in all six of the 2011 storms were caused by acts of nature beyond ComEd's control."
ComEd added that the proposed order "rejects any allegations related to the quality of ComEd's system. . . .We are still assessing the proposed order and what the potential costs could be if the ICC were to come to a similar decision. . . .We can't speculate as to whether we will appeal or not until we see the ICC decision."
If the commission agrees with the judge, ComEd will have to seek waivers from the commission for days in which at least 30,000 customers are without power for at least four hours to avoid having to pay damages. Outages that can be tied clearly to lightning, uprooted trees, broken tree limbs and winds exceeding 60 miles per hour would count as unpreventable and not subject to reimbursement.
Under those terms, ComEd doesn't have to pay damages for five of the six summer storms in 2011 that caused at least 30,000 customers to lose power for at least four hours. The one exception was the July 11 storm, the worst in more than a decade.
ComEd said it had 5,800 people working around the clock in staggered shifts of 16 hours to restore power after that storm. That included 429 crews made up of contractors and outside utilities from as far away as Alabama and Georgia — the most ComEd ever has used.
The judge agreed with ICC staff that ComEd's equipment was up to standard and that its restoration efforts were “reasonable.” The judge also reduced the number of customers eligible for damages to 34,559 from the 51,767 proposed by ICC staff.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan had called for a far larger number, arguing that ComEd's lack of investment in tree trimming and other maintenance had led to many of the outages.
In a statement, a spokeswoman for Ms. Madigan said, “We're disappointed that the ICC took such a narrow approach to determining potentially eligible customers. We believe ComEd has systematically under-invested in equipment and infrastructure that would have minimized the effect of the storms and, thus, storm-related damages to its customers.”
Citizens Utility Board Commonwealth Edison Co. Illinois Commerce Commission Lisa Madigan Energy and Utilities Infrastructure Energy and Utilities - Regulation More +