Millman Speaks Out Against Con Ed Rate Hike

January 18, 2008
Brooklyn Ė Assemblywoman Joan L. Millman submitted testimony this week to the New York City Public Service Commission denouncing Consolidated Edisonís application to increase rates for New York consumers.

Citing Con Edís inadequate response to the 2006 Queens blackout and its failure to eliminate electrified hotspots throughout the city, Assemblywoman Millman highlighted the companyís unsatisfactory record in delivering power safely and adequately to consumers. In addition, last year the Commission levied an $18 million fine against Con Ed for its poor service to consumers.

Below is Assemblywoman Millmanís testimony.

Testimony Presented to:
Public Service Commission

Submitted By:
Joan L. Millman
Member of Assembly, 52nd Assembly District

Re: Proposed Con Ed Rate Hike

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the rate hike proposed by the Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. As the Assemblymember for the 52nd Assembly District, representing Brooklyn Heights, Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, DUMBO, Vinegar Hill, and Park Slope, I urge you to deny Con Edís application at this time.

We are all aware of Con Edís shamefully poor response to the July 2006 blackout in Queens. Electric service reliability and quality in New York has visibly declined in the last few years. The $18 million fine for poor service levied on Con Ed by this Commission last year is ample proof. In addition, Con Ed has failed to adequately demonstrate a commitment to public safety as evidenced by the multitude of dangerous electrified hotspots that continue to exist throughout the city. Why should the public pay for Con Edís failures?

Con Ed claims the proposed rate is needed to ďsupport investments in electric delivery infrastructureĒ but Con Ed should have already been reinvesting its profits to improve infrastructure. New York residents are overburdened with the highest utility rates in the nation. The proposed rate hike also includes an incentive package for its shareholders. This is outrageous and unwarranted. As a public utility, Con Edís priorities need to be it customers. Unfortunately, it appears Con Ed is more interested in rewarding its stockholders than in serving and protecting the public.

Until the investigation into the blackout is completed and until Con Ed produces a detailed plan to properly explain its need for another rate hike, the Public Service Commission must deny Con Edís request.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.