Archive for the tag 'con edison'

A Con Edison employee was repairing the wiring yesterday (Source: Aliza

A Con Edison employee was repairing the wiring yesterday (Photo by Aliza Chasan)

By Aliza Chasan

Two years after Superstorm Sandy, one park in Gravesend is just now getting power back.

Though the streets in the area didn’t see much above-ground flooding, the storm’s salt waters managed to corrode the underground wiring serving the park at the corner of McDonald Avenue and Avenue S. As a result, the McDonald Playground bathrooms have been locked to keep people from injuring themselves in an unlit bathroom.

“Babies, if they want bathroom, they can’t go and it’s a problem for parents,” Olga Sianashka, 38, said. “I’m all the time playing with my children here and it’s not working,” she said about the bathroom.

It took some time for the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation to become aware of the problem as the power lines serving the park don’t supply electricity to any area houses.

Once Phil Mazzeo, a Parks Department electrician, found out, he checked the park’s property box and found the Con Ed wires were destroyed. After that, it was a matter of waiting for Con Ed to come out.

“I called 311 maybe five or six times,” Aliza Krassallosik, 40, said. “Why can’t the public go to the bathroom as well?”

Bobbie Colon, 37, said the bathroom situation is “outrageous” and that the park’s problems go beyond a locked bathroom.

“This was a really nice park five years ago, but now it’s someplace you really don’t want to come to.”

Source: niznoz/Flickr

Source: niznoz/Flickr

UPDATE (2:06 p.m.): Con Edison just informed us that the restoration time has been bumped up to 3:00 p.m.

Power went out due to “equipment failure” in the Sheepshead Bay area, according to the spokesperson, and they’re still investigating.

It’s also not just Gerritsen Beach – it looks like the outage spans that entire neighborhood, as well as a chunk of Sheepshead Bay / Plumb Beach. The borders they’ve given are Avenue U to the north, “Plumb Beach Avenue” to the south, Gerritsen Avenue to the east and Coyle Street to the west. (We’re looking for clarification on “Plumb Beach Avenue,” as there’s no such street in the area that we know of.)

Original post:

Residents of Gerritsen Beach are in the dark after power cut out, according to Con Edison.

A spokesperson for the company said 924 clients are without power after it went out at approximately 1:30 p.m.

Crews are on the scene working to restore it, and service is expected to resume by 5:00 p.m.

The spokesperson said the cause and geographical boundaries of the outage had not yet been determined. We will update this post when we hear back.

If you live in the area and are without power (yet somehow have access to this website), let us know the location in the comments.

A map of the approximate outage area, where 7,724 households were affected. Those shaded red were restored within 20 minutes, while 201 customers in the purple-shaded area were without power until 9 a.m.

A map of the approximate outage area, where 7,724 households were affected. Those shaded red were restored within 20 minutes, while 201 customers in the purple-shaded area were without power until 9 a.m.

As many as 7,724 Con Edison customers along a broad swath of Sheepshead Bay, Gravesend and Manhattan Beach were left without power this morning after an electrical line snapped.

The first reports of power outages hit the utility company at 7:16 a.m., a Con Edison representative told Sheepshead Bites. The company was able to respond quickly, bringing power back online for 7,523 customers within 20 minutes. But another 201 customers, largely in Manhattan Beach, remained without power until 9 a.m.

The outage affected thousands of households between Avenue R and Oriental Boulevard, and between West 7th Street and Knapp Street. While most saw service restored quickly, Plumb Beach and Manhattan Beach residents from Voorhies Avenue to Oriental Boulevard, and from Pembroke Street to Brighton 11th Street saw the longest delays in restoring electricity.

Con Edison said a downed power line caused the outage, but has not yet said where the power line was, or what caused it to fail.

If you know the location of the downed power line, please share with us in the comments.

UPDATE (11:51 a.m.): Con Edison just informed us that the downed power line was on East 19th Street, just north of Voorhies Avenue. They still could not say what caused it to go down.

Source: niznoz/Flickr

Source: niznoz/Flickr

by Jennifer Szulman

It has been more than a year since Superstorm Sandy devastated parts of the East Coast, yet Brighton Beach leaders say Con Edison and local landlords have not yet fully recovered – and it could cost residents a small fortune due to ongoing billing issues.

A series of billing and infrastructural snafus, some on behalf of the utility company, and others due to landlords’ sluggishness with repairs, will lead to large future bills for many customers. That has local business and tenant advocates concerned.

Makhnin

Yelena Makhnin, the executive director of the Brighton Beach Business Improvement District, said that Brighton Beach residents are concerned about their Con Edison bills since the storm damaged their electricity meters. Some residents have received bills as low as $20 per month when they’re used to seeing $80; others have received estimated bills or no bills whatsoever.

That means the company has not been billing for actual usage, and plans to make up the shortfall on future bills.

According to Con Edison’s Public Affairs Manager Sidney Alvarez, a future bill will consist of the months that customers haven’t been charged. It will be estimated on a case by case basis and calculated from each resident’s typical use of electricity prior to Superstorm Sandy. Alvarez suggested that residents stay in close contact with Con Edison for questions about bill adjustments, accommodations or payment plans.

Most of the billing problems stem from damaged electrical meter systems in large buildings, which some landlords haven’t remedied. When Con Edison finds that a meter has not been properly repaired, they may suspend billing.

“Building owners are responsible for making repairs, upgrades and modifications,” Alvarez said. “Once work is completed Con Edison will make the necessary inspections to service the area and issue the required orders.”

In large buildings, though, building owners aren’t the ones that need to worry about electrical bills, since those are handled directly by the residents. So there’s little incentive to make repairs, and some landlords are dragging their feet due to the high costs, Makhnin said.

“The landlords have to pay for it. They are not talking about $2,000 or $3,000, but a much greater amount,” Makhnin said. “Take into consideration the amount of money already spent [to repair boilers, etc]; they might see changing meters as an expense they cannot afford.”

Residents, meanwhile, are left at the utility company’s mercy.

Singer (Photo by Erica Sherman)

Singer (Photo by Erica Sherman)

When Brighton Neighborhood Association founder and local resident Pat Singer started receiving estimated bills from Con Edison shortly after Superstorm Sandy, she thought it was going to be a temporary way to cope with the aftermath of the storm. In April, Singer paid an estimated bill of roughly $17, as opposed to her typical charge of $80 to $150, depending on the season. Singer later received a letter from Con Edison saying that while they would still provide electricity to the complex, they were not going to bill her anymore until the meters in her 96-unit building are replaced.

The meters in her building are due to come soon, according to Singer, but she fears the “estimated” expense of her future bills.

“They’re going to have to pull the figure out of a hat if you don’t have a meter,” Singer said. “Of course they’re going to pull the figure out on their side, not on our side. They should waive some of these fees; it shouldn’t be a blow like this with one big giant bill. They shouldn’t have stopped billing. I’ve never experienced anything like that.”

Both Singer and Makhnin agree that this is a serious issue that needs to go beyond a “he said, she said” debate. Both women feel the government needs to intervene and Sandy relief money should be used to help the residents pay for the mounting costs.

“I’m not saying that the city, federal government or FEMA has to pay for changing meters, but there should be a way to give landlords some kind of incentive to help them a little bit,” Makhnin said. “I believe the city has to step in – not by issuing fines but trying to find a solution to help both sides. People should not have to choose, especially elderly on a fixed income, between paying Con Edison bills and buying food.”

Source: Google Maps

The home on Ford Street that Joseph McClam claimed he lived in. (Source: Google Maps)

Federal agents busted an alleged fraudster on charges of stealing thousands in relief funds from FEMA when he falsely claimed to have lived in Sheepshead Bay when Superstorm Sandy struck last year. According to the criminal complaint, Joseph McClam said he was living at 2798 Ford Street when Sandy rolled through, when he had actually been been living in North Carolina.

McClam, 52, collected more than $32,000 from the government by claiming that the Ford Street home was his primary residence and suffered damage from Sandy. According to investigators, though, McClam, who owned the Ford Street residence, rented the building to various tenants until a fire heavily damaged the structure in 2010, leaving the building uninhabited and in a state of disrepair for more than two years before Sandy. Now living in North Carolina, he allegedly set up a fake New York mailing address when filing claims with the FEMA website for the purposes of soliciting relief funds.

Following an initial FEMA inspection, during which McClam was present, McClam received the maximum payout possible, $29,952 for home repair and $2,948 for rental assistance. According to prosecutors, McClam told FEMA inspectors that he had been living in the basement apartment of the structure while it was being renovated. But, prosecutors say, McClam hadn’t paid his water bill since 2009 and hadn’t had a Con Edison electric account open for the building since the fire struck in 2010 – making it an unlikely residence.

Secondary residences affected by Superstorm Sandy are not entitled to FEMA grants. Instead they are categorized as a business by the government, and homeowners were instructed to apply for Small Business Administration loans to cover the repair.

According to a Daily News report, McClam is a singer in a Motown cover band and was released on $50,000 bail. His lawyer provided no comment following his release.

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

We received this from Micah Rome, an energy efficiency consultant with Con Edison’s Small Business Team, who has been doing outreach in Sheepshead Bay to save our business owners some cash. Here’s what he had to say:

ConEdison’s Small Business Energy Program offers FREE energy efficiency assessments that can help small businesses throughout New York City save money on their ConEdison electricity bills and help protect the environment.  The way the program works is that each qualifying ConEdison account is eligible for a free energy efficiency assessment to determine measures that can be taken to reduce electricity usage.  Any efficiency measures identified in the assessment are then eligible for up to a 70% subsidy for materials and installation from ConEdison.  You can find more information about the program at http://www.coned.com/energyefficiency/businessdirect.asp.

One Sheepshead Bay business that took advantage of the ConEdison’s program was Monica’s Bridal.  The store replaced all of there standard lighting with energy efficienct LED lighting last year.  Since then the store owner has reported that the electricity bill has dropped from $5,000 to $1,400 per month.

Small business owners should also be aware that as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 the production of T12 fluorescent lamps has been discontinued as of July 14, 2012.  More information here: http://www.pacificpower.net/bus/se/tr/flsc.html.  T12 lamps are the most common type of fluorescent lamps and ConEdison’s Small Business Energy Program can help you upgrade your lighting.  If you have T12 lamps or if you are not sure, call 646-770-7623 for your free small business energy efficiency assessment.

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.

Power lines exploded in Manhattan Beach Friday night, drawing a battalion of first responders to the scene, leaving dozens without power, and providing a light show for those dining on the waterfront.

The fire broke out at approximately 9:00 p.m. Friday night on Oriental Boulevard and Norfolk Street, readers told Sheepshead Bites. According to witnesses, a power line burst, showering the street with sparks and eventually causing several other wires to burn.

There are no injuries reported at this time, but readers around the Bay sent in photos and video of the light show it created – visible in the foggy night sky from as far away as the Belt Parkway.

Tip o’ the hat to Alan R., who not only sent us one of the videos below, but was the first to tip us off to the incident. Readers like Alan are how we get our news – so be sure to e-mail our tip line (tips [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com) or call or text (347) 985-0633 if you see anything newsworthy!

Also thanks to Max Sitnikov, Kathleen Higgins, E. Gilerman, and Inna M. for the photos and information.

View the photos and videos.

Several sections of power lines exploded on East 29th Street and Emmons Avenue this morning, sparking a small garbage fire near Roll-N-Roaster restaurant, and leaving as many as 100 Con Edison customers without power.

“Four sections of overhead wire were involved. There’s 50 to 100 customers affected. It’s going to be six to 12 hours before we have this restored,” said Con Edison spokesperson Bob McGee. “We’re still investigating as to what the cause is … Sometimes it’s like a small animal caught in the wire or something, but we won’t know that yet.”

After being requested by the firefighters, the Con Ed crew arrived and cut the high tension lines. The lines first erupted at approximately 11:30 a.m.

Firefighters said when they arrived the wires were popping, and several small blasts occurred before one of the wires snapped, and landed on a pile of debris left curbside by a homeowner renovating after Superstorm Sandy.

Once the lines were cut, firefighters doused the smoldering debris. The incident was deemed under control by 1:00 p.m. An EMS responder on scene said there were no injuries.

A Con Edison spokesperson said the customers without power, which includes Roll-N-Roaster at 1901 Emmons Avenue, should have power restored between 8:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m.

View videos and photos.

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