MOST RECENT ROAD CLOSURE LIST..CON ED ISN’T PROVIDING LOCAL OFFICIALS WITH INFORMATION- WHERE THEY ARE GOING TO NEXT, SCHEDULE OF RESTORATION…MANY RESIDENTS HAVE CABLE OUTAGES…COPY OF REUTER’S ARTICLE FROM 2012---CAN FRUSTRATED CUSTOMERS SUE CON ED FOR FAILURE TO GET SERVICE RESTORED QUICKLY?
Here are the road closures as of 130pm today
350 Sprain Rd : wires down CLOSED in both directions
Highland and Laura : trees down, wires hanging, pole overhanging in roadway, CLOSED
6 Heather Ln: primary and secondary down, road not passable Heather Ln CLOSED
Marion Ave intersection of Buckley/Townsend : tree on wires, wire in roadway CLOSED
145 Woodlands / Dobbs Ferry RD: primary tree on pole, wires down Woodlands CLOSED
26 Whitehouse and Don Ln: tree hanging on primary and secondary / barricaded and CLOSED
10 and 11 Cayuga Ln tree on primary and secondary, pole is bent, Cayuga CLOSED
Withington Road / Cotswold Way tress/wires
Arthur Lane/ Grasslands Road trees/wires down
300 Clayton Road
Representatives of the town participated in a conference call with other municipal officials and Con Ed today. Every local official in the county is upset. None of us (in any town, city, village) is being provided with information from Con Ed on the schedule for restoration. We know that Con Ed has crews working. And, there are more out of state crews in the area working on the restoration. But they don’t provide local officials with information where they are going next. This AM we had about 2,400 homes out of power in unincorporated Greenburgh. The town public works department is out clearing trees and assisting Con Ed so they can restore power to everyone. We are swamped with calls and e mails but aren’t able to give frustrated, freezing and angry utility customers answers to basic question—when will power be restored to my home. This is unfair—because people have the right to know what is happening to their property. I received a call from someone who told me that Con Ed called them- advising that their power was back up. They were ecstatic. They checked out of their hotel. And- when they got home the power was not on. They then tried to get back to the hotel but lost the room to another Con Ed customer out of power. Con Ed has been calling lots of people telling them that their power is on—and Con Ed was wrong.
Con Ed has more out of state crews in the area so I’m hoping that the suffering and inconveniences will end soon.
I have also been forwarding complaints from residents about cable service disruptions. Many people work from home and the lack of cable, internet impacts the ability to work from home. Hopefully, service will be offered soon.
THOUGHT THIS ARTICLE AFROM REUTERS WOULD BE OF INTEREST TO RESIDENTS WHO HAVE ASKED—CAN THEY SUE A POWER COMPANY FOR OUTAGES? Yesterday I called on Con Ed to reimburse residents who have been out of power for days for hotel bills, food bills, food spoilage, etc… Con Ed is currently not required to reimburse anyone for the extra expenses. The FREEZING weather has not only been inconvenient. It’s been expensive---a constituent called me yesterday. She’s spending more than $250 a night on a hotel.
Can customers sue power companies for outages? Yes, but it’s hard to win
By Alison Frankel November 9, 2012
Scott Kreppein of Hagney, Quatela, Hargraves & Mari lives and works on Long Island, where about 90 percent of the customers of the Long Island Power Authority lost power in last week’s storm. Kreppein still doesn’t have electricity or heat at his house in Smithtown. Last week he got by on flashlights and a small gas-powered generator. Over the weekend, he and his wife fled to a hotel in Pennsylvania, and since they came back home, they’ve been living with relatives who have heat and light. Kreppein, in other words, has a personal interest in holding LIPA accountable for any failures in its restoration of power across Long Island.
But Kreppein also knows that the odds are very low of establishing LIPA’s liability through a class action by disgruntled customers of the power company. In 2006, when he was working at Morelli Ratner, Kreppein represented several businesses in Queens, New York, that sued Consolidated Edison in state court for millions of dollars in damages that resulted from a week-long blackout in Astoria, Woodside and neighboring communities. According to Kreppein, there’s nothing barring customers — whether they’re businesses or individual ratepayers — from bringing such suits against power companies, even though utilities are state-regulated. To win, however, New York ratepayers have to show that their power company was not just slow or inefficient. Instead, Kreppein said, under a 1985 New York Court of Appeals ruling called Strauss v. Belle Realty, electric company customers must establish that the utility was grossly negligent — that its conduct was way outside the bounds of reasonableness.
In the Queens power outage case, that question was not answered in court. Litigation over Con Ed’s alleged negligence proceeded alongside an investigation by the New York Public Service Commission, which regulates power companies and other utilities. With intense pressure from politicians and local activists accelerating the process, Con Ed reached a global settlement in 2008, agreeing to put up $17 million for affected homes and businesses and to waive rate increases intended to pay for $40 million in plant repairs associated with the blackout.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has already committed to a PSC investigation of post-Sandy power restoration efforts, and New Jersey will almost certainly conduct a similar investigation; last year New Jersey’s Board of Public Utilities reviewed the responses of the state’s four power companies to Hurricane Irene and the October snowstorm. That doesn’t mean, however, that the regulatory investigations will result in findings that support allegations of gross negligence against the utilities. According to Greg Reinert, a spokesman for New Jersey’s BPU, ratepayers didn’t bring class actions after Irene or the October storm.
Indeed, the trouble that all of the region’s power companies have had in turning their customers’ lights back on could hamper gross negligence claims against any one of them, according to Kreppein. “If all of the companies did the same thing, and if everyone was bad at handling outages after the storm, then that’s just the facts, that’s not negligence,” he said.
The high bar for claims against power companies didn’t deter Manhattan solo Richard Hershman, who filed a bare-bones class action against Con Ed on Thursday in New York State Supreme Court in Westchester. Hershman told me he and his neighbors in Tarrytown have been in the dark since last Monday and feel like they’ve been ignored by their power company. “We think Con Ed is responsible not just for gross negligence, but also for putting out false or misleading information,” he said. According to Hershman, his neighbors’ damages from the long outage range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. “My personal opinion, and what I told my neighbors, is that from the storm through Sunday was okay,” he said. “It was a bad storm. (Con Ed’s) response was poor, but I give them leeway. But this week, after warnings about the nor’easter? They just did not put the necessary equipment and personnel in place in Westchester.”
A Con Ed representative said she could not comment on litigation and referred me to the company’s website, which says that because the storm was beyond Con Ed’s control, the company “is not responsible for property damage or other losses.” Representatives of LIPA and power companies in New Jersey did not respond to phone and email messages, and a spokesman for New York’s PSC did not return my call.
Kreppein told me he’s planning to file a Freedom of Information Act request with LIPA to find out whether his power company had a plan for the storm and how it executed restoration of power. He’s not ruling out litigation, depending on what he finds out. “I don’t know what individual LIPA employees are doing. I’m sure they’re working as hard as they can,” he said. “But I’m not satisfied with LIPA’s efforts. I don’t have power.”