26 Jul
Posted in: Blog
By    3 Comments

Out of the Box, or Out of His Gourd?

No one has been claiming that Queens has been unfairly targeted by a conspiracy to deprive them of air conditions. I live in Queens and I don’t feel like Con Ed targeted my neighbors (I wasn’t affected by the blackout). What I am claiming is that Con Ed was totally incompetent and heads should roll. Moreover, Con Ed is more than a publicly traded company that is accountable to its shareholder – Con Ed is a public utility which holds a government-granted monopoly over the distribution of electric in New York City. As such, it is no different, in my mind, than a City agency when it comes to whom it is accountable. Con Ed must answer to the citizens of New York City first and the shareholders second. The issue is not lost revenue for Con Ed, it is lost earnings and diminished health (or lost lives) for Queens residents. To focus on shareholder rights and Con Ed profits (as the reason they would want to fix the problem) is to lose sight of the problem and to whom Con Ed is accountable first and foremost.

But, I still love Nick and his willingness to be contrarian. Next debate, “Resolved, the world is flat.” Nick, I believe you are speaking in favor of the resolution . . .

: )

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  • I would like to add, that although I am not an electrician or engineer, I suspect there are myriad ways in which ConEd could have attempted to head-off the power outtage. Even if their attempts failed in the end, it would have meant something that they at least tried. Example: I work in the financial district and there is no way ConEd is going to let our power go out and shut down the stock exchange, therefore, they have a power conservation program in place where most buildings voluntarily reduce power in the summer months. The other week Con Ed sent out an alert and my office building shut down 25% of the elevators, hallway lights and exterior office lights were turned off or dimmed and supplemental air was turned off. Easy enough. Usage was reduced which in turn reduced the chances of a blackout. I remeber as a child when we had a brown-out, where con-ed reduced power to prevent a black-out. These plans should be in place for all neighborhoods – not just the ones where the money comes from.

  • Daphne,

    That’s a great idea except that it only works when it involves office buildings where the people running it are all on the same page and understand what’s at stake.

    The average Joe in Queens sitting in his home is never going to get on a plan like that. You can send all the warnings out you want and they’ll still pump the A/C.

    It’s like when they send those drought warnings and they tell people to limit their showers, laundry, watering grass and washing cars. How many people actually listen? Few, most just take the stance that the next guy will do it.

  • That’s why they should have started with rolling brown-outs – where hey cut the wattage provided to certain areas. That way your a/c etc can’t run at full capacity. That was an option they did not use. I know they ahve used it before – they have in Mnahattan at least.