Archive for the tag 'con ed'


A long-standing sidewalk obstacle in front of the derelict Maimonides clinic at 3121 Ocean Avenue is finally being fixed, with contractors on the scene yesterday.

The site was previously a pit covered by a foot-tall concrete slab and surrounded by barricades.

Here’s what it looked like when we passed by in October:


It was covered in trash and debris, and was long on my to-do list for griping here on this site. It bothered me because it not only attracted garbage and was a fairly horrendous eyesore, but also because it was an obstacle that took up a huge portion of sidewalk. Next door to the site is the Bainbridge Center, an adult daycare facility. So it’s fair to assume the area is pretty highly trafficked by seniors and the disabled.

A contractor on the scene told us it was a telephone utility manhole damaged during Superstorm Sandy. Looking into the pit while they worked, it was deep and empty. While the contractor blamed Sandy, I recall this being a problem spot long before the storm, with the sidewalk broken and raised up. I can’t remember if they began the work before the storm, but I believe they did.

It also bothered me because it was supposed to be fixed nearly a year ago. A sign on the site over the summer indicated it was a ConEd job, not a telephone utility, and work was supposed to be done by February:


That never happened. Some time in the fall this sign was spray painted so that the construction information could not be read. Covering tracks much? Maybe.

Hopefully they finish the work quickly and responsibly. It’ll be nice for neighbors to have their sidewalk back, instead of covered in construction and trash.

Governor Andrew Cuomo (Source: Philip Kamrass / Times Union)

Governor Andrew Cuomo (Source: Philip Kamrass / Times Union)

Citing Con Edison’s lackluster performance during Superstorm Sandy, Governor Andrew Cuomo urged the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) to deny Con Ed’s requested rate increase for 2014. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Cuomo is demanding that utility companies be more accountable for their service.

According to the report, Con Ed is seeking a 4 percent rate increase on electricity bills and a 1.5 percent increase on gas bills. Cuomo was straightforward in his opposition to allowing Con Ed to raise their rates:

“It’s clear that now is not the time for Con Edison to demand that its customers pay more,” Mr. Cuomo said in a statement…

In a letter to the bi-partisan PSC, Mr. Cuomo said last year’s hurricane and the Metro-North outage “reinforced the importance of a reliable electric system and the need to hold utilities accountable for their preparedness and response, especially when considering potential rate hikes.”

The letter noted that ConEd customers pay among the highest electricity prices in the nation, “making it essential that the Commission scrutinize any request for further rate increases.”

Con Ed responded to Cuomo’s comments by indicating that infrastructure investment must be made in case of future storms.

“We will continue working with the Commission, and state and local officials, on the importance of protecting New York City and Westchester from the next major storm.  We also must continue making investments necessary to maintain the high level of reliability New Yorkers expect and deserve,” Con Ed said in a statement.

Cuomo dismissed the argument that Con Ed needed to raise rates to improve their service.

“Given the historically low interest rates and the economic and income growth forecasts, such investments can be made without the rate increase requested by the utility. Maintaining stable rates and indeed, lowering rates whenever feasible, is critical to supporting our economic recovery and creating jobs in the region,” Cuomo wrote.

Source: niznoz/Flickr

Source: niznoz/Flickr

Con Edison needs $1 billion to implement their plan to protect their infrastructure and facilities from future storms. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that ConEd is seeking approval from the state to pass along a $3 monthly rate increase to customers to pay for it.

ConEd’s plan, which would need four years to implement, requires the approval of the New York State Public Service Commission. To date, ConEd has already spent $400 million on infrastructure improvements since Superstorm Sandy cut the power for nearly a million New Yorkers.

ConEd Chief Executive Kevin Burke stressed that the funds are necessary in light of the upcoming hurricane season.

“This is just a beginning, but we knew the hurricane season starts June 1, and we knew we needed to have some measures in place going into the next hurricane season,” Burke told the Wall Street Journal.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2013 is expected to be a “active or extremely active” hurricane season, listing a 70 percent chance that the season will see 13-20 named storms and three to six major hurricanes.

Last week we wrote about an elderly Brighton Beach couple whose heating still wasn’t repaired months after the events of Superstorm Sandy. Given a free electric space heater by the city, the Gertsmans of 601 Brightwater Court, saw their electricity bill soar, a cost they were unable to cover themselves. Having heard their plight on 1010 WINS, a listener stepped up and covered the Gertsmans’ electric bill, according to a report by CBS NY.

The radio listener who donated the money to the Gertsmans was New Jersey resident Diane Edwards.

“It feels great to meet him, it really is a pleasure,” Edwards told 1010 WINS reporter Carol D’Auria.

The Gertsmans also expressed gratitude for Edwards’s generous gift.

“Americans are accustomed to do good, and in the future Russians will know about charity as well as Americans,” he told 1010 WINS through an interpreter.

While the Gertsmans found some relief, their neighbors, unfortunately, did not.

According to Yelena Makhnin, executive director of the Brighton Beach Business Improvement District, the local relief center at the Shorefront Y distributed 3,500 electric heaters to Sandy victims. Even more were distributed in Coney Island, Sheepshead Bay, Gerritsen Beach and others. Many residents, desperate to fend off the winter chill while their boilers awaited replacement, turned to the devices despite the high price tag, and that fueled higher bills across the neighborhood.

“It’s a problem for thousands of people,” Makhnin told Sheepshead Bites. “There are many people on fixed incomes, and whose houses and apartments got damaged and they have to pay a lot of money to fix them, and in this situation, each and every penny counts.

Chaim Deutsch, an aide to Councilman Michael Nelson, led the charge to bring attention to the issue using the Gertsmans as a prime illustration. But now that the Gertsmans’ needs have been filled, they hope that others remain aware of the high costs of electric heating.

“It’s a community issue that people used the electric heaters, so it was something to bring out that when you use electric as opposed to gas, the price goes up,” said Deutsch. “It was a game of survival during Hurricane Sandy, and you had to make sure that everyone’s safe and you stay warm.”

With additional reporting by Ned Berke.

Photo By Erica Sherman

Brighton Beach was hit as hard as any other coastal community ravaged by Superstorm Sandy and local residents are still feeling the effects of its destruction in the form of expensive electric bills, according to a report by CBS NY.

Since Sandy came ashore late last October, amazingly, many residents of Brighton Beach, Sheepshead Bay and elsewhere are still without heat. To stay warm in these harsh winter months, people have substituted working heat with electric space heaters, many of which were given out by Red Cross, FEMA and other disaster support groups.

As a consequence, their electric bills have skyrocketed, punishing the pocket books of people just trying to stay warm.

CBS NY tracked the plight of the residents of 601 Brightwater Court. After Sandy, the heat was knocked out of the building and the city distributed electric space heaters to keep elderly couples like Pavel Gertsman and his wife warm.

While the heaters were welcome, the increased electric bills topping out at an extra $150 a month, were not. Their plight was relayed through Brighton Beach Business Improvement District Executive Director Yelena Makhnin:

“They’re on a fixed income with $1,100 family, and the difference in $150, it makes those people choose between food and Con Edison bills,” Makhnin said.

She said the Gertsmans have health problems and cannot afford the huge bill.

Con Ed spokesman Bob McGee said the utility is forbidden by law from reducing the Gertsman’s bill.

For his part, McGee suggested that people unable to pay their bills as a result of Sandy could try reaching out to non-profit organizations like the Red Cross.

Other options include contacting the city’s Human Resources Administration, which has federally funded home energy assistance programs. You can visit their website by clicking the link above or call them at (800) 692-0557.

Brighton Neighborhood Association Executive Director Pat Singer, left, and her staff (not pictured) have returned to their office at the Chase Bank in Brighton Beach following Superstorm Sandy. Photo by Erica Sherman

After being displaced and working from remote locations to serve their community in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, our friends at the Brighton Neighborhood Association (BNA) are back!

The social services and tenant advocacy organization officially re-opened for business today in its location at the Chase Bank, 1002 Brighton Beach Avenue on the corner of Coney Island Avenue.

Displaced from her own Brighton Beach apartment in the weeks following Sandy, BNA’s Executive Director, Pat Singer, as well as staff members Janet Veksler and Claudia Escoto, continued to reach out to the community in its time of need.

To learn more about the BNA and the work they do for the community, contact Singer at (718) 891-0800, visit, and “Like” BNA on Facebook.

Correction (12/18/2012): The original version of this article indicated that the BNA coordinated with Shorefront Y on Sandy relief. Shorefront Y has notified us that this was erroneous, and we have updated the article. We regret any confusion this may have caused.

Councilman Mike Nelson posted information on his Facebook page concerning the availability and distribution of free dry ice by Con Edison today for customers without power due to Hurricane Sandy.

According to Nelson:

“Con Edison will distribute dry ice at five locations starting at noon today to customers who are without power due to Hurricane Sandy. Distribution will continue until 6 p.m. or until supplies run out. The company will also have personnel at the locations to answer customers’ questions.”

In our area, dry ice will be available at MCU Park (Cyclones Stadium), 1904 Surf Avenue between West 17th Street and West 19th Street, parking lot section 1B.

Instructions for the safe handling and disposal of dry ice are printed on the bag for residents who pick up dry ice.

It is important to note that dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide and should only be used in well-ventilated areas. Keep children and pets safely away.

Con Ed Shuts Power

NewsOne is reporting that ConEd has shut power from Shell Road to Gravesend Neck Road, from East 15th Street to East 16th Street from Coney Island Creek to the Atlantic Ocean and Sheepshead Bay to the East.

We’re also hearing of numerous power outages and wires down throughout our area.

Stay home. Stay safe.

Source: niznoz/Flickr

More than 1,200 people are experiencing power outages as a heavy thunderstorm rolls through the neighborhood, according to Con Edison.

The company’s outage map on their website notes outages in the following areas:

  • 1,067 customers affected in Gerritsen Beach
  • 120 customers affected in Midwood
  • 86 affected in Marine Park and Georgetown

Additionally, Con Edison is reporting via the map that individual residents throughout Southern Brooklyn are experiencing partial outages.

To report a loss of electric service, contact Con Edison at 1-800-75-CONED(26633) or, if you somehow still have access to the internet, use their online form.

Source: niznoz/Flickr

Con Edison is reducing voltage by 5 percent in Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods including Sheepshead Bay, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach, Midwood, Flatbush, and East Flatbush, as the National Weather Service extends the ongoing heat advisory for all of New York City until tomorrow evening.

Find out what areas are affected and why, and how you can conserve energy during the heat wave.

Next »