Tag Archives: con ed

Kyle Kimball named Con Edison VP of Government Relations

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Con Edison announced Thursday the appointment of Kyle Kimball, former president of the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC), as its vice president of Government Relations.

Kimball, who is a Brooklyn resident, will join the company in August.

“We are excited to have Kyle join our team at Con Edison,” said Frances A. Resheske, senior vice president of Public Affairs. “He is engaging and well respected, with extensive experience handling complex projects and issues. Kyle will be invaluable to Con Edison at a time when the energy industry is undergoing significant change, incorporating technologies that offer new options for our customers.”

The 42-year-old first joined EDC in 2008, was appointed president in 2013 by then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and later reappointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio. During his tenure, he oversaw major capital projects ranging from the upgrading of city infrastructure to the building of new housing. Prior to EDC, Kyle was a vice president at Goldman Sachs and at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.

He graduated from Harvard University where he majored in government and earned his master’s degree at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.


Astoria co-op calls for gas service to be restored, sheds light on bigger problems

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirao

Shareholders and residents of one Astoria co-op building are caught in the middle of a blame game, and want to get the services they are paying for and deserve.

The occupants of Acropolis Gardens, located between 33rd and 35th streets off Ditmars Boulevard, gathered with Councilman Costa Constantinides and Public Advocate Letitia James Monday calling on the building’s management company to restore gas and hot water, which have been out in the building since late April.

The gas service in eight of the 16 buildings that make up the complex was turned off after a fire occurred on April 29. Since then only two of the eight buildings have gotten the gas service back.

“For eight of the 16 buildings here, this is week eight of not being able to take a hot shower after a long day. This is week number eight of not being able to come home and use their stove to cook themselves a hot meal,” Constantinides said. “This has been week eight of their lives being turned upside down and today we are here to say enough is enough. It’s time to get the work done.”

Con Edison has not turned the gas back on in the buildings because of internal piping issues the building’s management company, Metropolitan Pacific Properties, needs to address first, according to a spokesman.

“The service was shut off to several of the buildings because of unauthorized, improper hookups that violate building codes. Building management has been made fully aware of what they need to do,” the spokesman said. “Gas was shut off for the safety of the residents. We’ll continue working with the city to make restorations as proper repairs are made.”

The co-op board held a rally Sunday with residents and members of the management company calling on Con Edison to turn the gas back on in the complex.

“I’m not only affected but everyone in the complex is affected and ultimately the goal of a a co-op is to operate effectively as one and what is going on is atrocious and it really seems to be Con Edison’s negligence and faulty,” said Ryan Herzich, a resident and shareholder at the Acropolis for about a year, who attended the rally. “Management has been doing everything they can to alleviate that. They’ve been very responsive and proactive in communications with me and all the other tenants and shareholders.”


Steve Osman, CEO of Metropolitan Pacific Properties, speaks during a rally Sunday. (Photo by Michael Johnson)

Steve Osman, CEO of Metropolitan Pacific Properties, said that all work being done within the complex has proper permits and they are in the process of replacing oil burners with natural gas.

During the rally on Monday morning, both Constantinides and James said that instead of pointing fingers, the management company has to first deal with the issue and work with Con Edison to get the gas turned back on and then deal with any problems within agencies.

“We have to work together to fix this problem and there have been enough recriminations, enough of the blame game,” James said. “Fix the problem and fix it now. It’s as simple as that.”

Osman said that the issues with the heat and hot water should be resolved once the burners are replaced with the new ones.

“There’s always going to be some issues, you can please 90 percent of the people and the 10 percent you don’t is always the loudest,” Osman said. “As management we know we’re never going to please 100 percent but that 10 percent is always the loudest. There are sales here every single week, they’re selling for record prices right now, we have four closings coming up. This didn’t hurt any of it.”

However, according to residents, there are other problems that they have been dealing with management for the past years.

Shallena Jabid, who has been living in Acropolis Gardens since 2011 and has owned her apartment since 2007, said, “I hope somebody can do something.”

A source close to the situation told The Courier Wednesday that James is working to set up a meeting with all parties involved in the hope of resolving this matter.


Manhole fires and power outage hit Woodhaven area

| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

An electric blowout left 1,218 residents without power in the Woodhaven area for an hour Thursday morning, according to a Con Edison spokesman.

Three manholes spewed out flames and power lines above ground also burst into flames at about 6:15 a.m., according to residents on 95th Avenue and 96th Street where the event occurred.

“I woke up to a popping noise and I saw tons of black smoke coming out of the [manhole] covers,” Irene Kesluk said. “The power lines were on fire and there was that acrid smell in the air.”

Kesluk said that her lights flickered during the outage but power was quickly restored. Con Edison responded to the flames with cleanup crews. The crews spent the afternoon cleaning out the black stained manholes.

According to a Con Edison worker on site, the electric blowout was caused by an over use of electricity by residents in Woodhaven.

National Grid and Verizon were also on site but there were no reports of gas lines being affected, but Kesluk said her landline was currently not working.

Nearby there was a smaller power outage that affected three Con Edison customers, according to the electric company’s spokesman. They still do no have power but they expect the area to be restored later in the afternoon.

“Con Ed and the fire department responded very quickly,” Kesluk said as she watched clean up crews hose out one of the burnt manholes.



Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup


Friday: Partly to mostly cloudy. High 51. Winds E at 5 to 10 mph. Friday night: Mostly cloudy skies early, then partly cloudy after midnight. Low 41.

EVENT OF THE DAY: MicroChip Fundraiser to Benefit Sidewalk Angels

Camp Bow Wow of Queens in Long Island City is hosting a low-cost microchip fundraiser event on Friday from 3:00 – 7:00 p.m. Haute Vet Clinic of Queens is providing the chips, available at a discount of 60 percent in an effort to get as many dogs chipped as possible. All of the proceeds from the event go to Sidewalk Angels pet foundation. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Transit union, MTA announce contract deal

Both sides have announced a tentative contract settlement with the union that represents about 38,000 subway and bus workers in New York City. Read more: NBC New York

Bill would raise state minimum wage to $15 for big businesses

New York’s large retailers and chain stores would be forced to share the wealth with their workers under a bill that would set a $15-an-hour minimum wage. Read more: New York Post 

Chuck Schumer rips Con Ed bill spike

The price of electricity is too darn high, says Sen. Chuck Schumer. Read more: New York Post

Pastors accuse Mayor de Blasio of lack of diversity in appointments

More than a half-dozen African-American pastors and about 70 supporters gathered outside City Hall Thursday to protest what they described as a lack of diversity in Mayor de Blasio’s top appointments. Read more: New York Daily News

New NY law would require underage party bus passengers to have adult chaperone

New legislation could put the brakes on underage drinking on party buses in New York. Read more: CBS New York


Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup


Friday: Fog and drizzle early…then rain. High 51. Winds SSE at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 70%. Friday night: Cloudy with light rain early…then becoming partly cloudy. Low 33. Winds WSW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 60%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Queens Council on the Arts presents “A Night with Dancers”

Queens Council on the Arts’ 3rd Space is proud to present an evening with Queens-based dancers and choreographers Monica Hogan, Hazel Lever and Selma Treviño who will be performing works-in-progress. Artists and the culturally curious are invited to participate in an evening of movement and discussion, to help workshop works in progress and gain unique insight into the artistic process. Dancers are especially encouraged to join us for a unique networking and community building opportunity. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

De Blasio caravan seen speeding, running stop signs: report

A vehicle carrying Mayor Bill de Blasio was allegedly caught speeding and breaking other traffic laws just two days after he unveiled his plan to prevent reckless driving. Read more: The Queens Courier

NY regulators approve Con Edison rate freeze

New York utility regulators have approved freezes on electricity, natural gas and steam delivery rates for Con Edison customers. Read more: NBC New York

NY lawmaker: Parents should take parenting classes

New York state Sen. Ruben Diaz Jr. introduced a bill that would require parents of elementary school children to attend a minimum of four parent support classes. If parents don’t go, 6th graders won’t move onto 7th grade. Read more: Fox New York

After brief we warmup, winter to tighten grip with return of polar vortex

A brief warmup to the 50s over the next few days will be followed by another return of the polar vortex to the tri-state area and a chance of snow next week. Read more: NBC New York

CDC: More young people getting the flu than in any other age group

Flu season started early and strong this year, and on Thursday a new report revealed it’s hitting a different group of people especially hard. Read more: CBS New York



Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup


Thursday: Sunny. High 31. Winds NW at 5 to 10 mph. Thursday night: Partly cloudy skies this evening will become overcast overnight. Low 26. Winds light and variable.

EVENT OF THE DAY: D.B. Rielly at Winegasm 

Come join award-winning singer/songwriter D.B. Rielly at Winegasm at 9 p.m., where he will perform a wide-ranging collection of Americana music, spanning several genres including roots, blues, and country. Winegasm is located at 31-86 37th Street in Astoria. Admission is free, for more information visit www.dbrielly.com.

Con Edison sets new winter records for gas, electric usage

The extreme cold in recent days has led to a new winter one-day record for national gas and electric service use by Con Edison customers. Read more: CBS New York

NYC urging parents to get flu shots for children

New York City health officials are urging locals to get flu shots, especially for their young children. The Health Department said vaccination levels are rising but remain below the goals set by the federal government. Read more: Fox New York

Cantor may launch charter school probe against de Blasio

Mayor de Blasio’s anti-charter school pronouncements could get him investigated by Congress before he even moves into Gracie Mansion. Read more: New York Post

MetroCard machines randomly dispensing super bowl-themed cards 

MetroCard machines are now randomly dispensing Super Bowl-themed cards as a way to promote the championship game at MetLife Stadium next month. Read more: NBC New York

Dennis Rodman apologizes for comments in North Korea, admits drinking

Dennis Rodman apologized Thursday for comments about captive American missionary Kenneth Bae in an interview with CNN. Read more: AP


Family of woman killed in Sandy sues Con Ed

| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Nearly a year after Lauren Abraham stepped on a downed power line and “burst into flames” during Superstorm Sandy, her family has filed suit.

Kim Tinnin, Abraham’s mother, is suing Con Edison on behalf of her daughter for her “wrongful death,” according to court papers.

Abraham, 23, walked outside her home on 134th Street in Richmond Hill around 8:30 p.m. the night of the storm. When she walked from her driveway onto the street, she inadvertently came into contact with the exposed portion of a severed power line, said a complaint filed in Manhattan’s Supreme Court.

“Abraham, beloved by everyone who met her, then burned alive, writhing and screaming while her neighbors and friends looked on, unable to help because the power line was still live,” the papers said. “The flames grew so large that one neighbor did not even realize that a person was being burned.”

Court papers allege Abraham, a make-up artist and aspiring teacher, burned alive for approximately 30 minutes.

Neighbors said they could “smell the body burning all night.”

“It’s the most horrific way anyone can die,” said Douglas Wigdor, Tinnin’s attorney.

Wigdor said Con Ed could have done a number of things to prevent an incident during the storm. For one, power lines should have been underground, as has been the fight for many years. Secondly, existing technology could have been implemented that immediately de-energizes power lines once they come down.

The area could have also been de-energized prior to the storm.

Also, Wigdor noted, recorded winds measured no more than 56 mph during the time Abraham was outside. Power lines should be able to withstand these speeds, which are much less than hurricane-speed winds. This suggests Con Ed did not properly maintain the lines, the attorney said.

During and after the incident, Con Ed took two hours to shut down the electrical line’s power source. Emergency personnel on site had “no choice but to watch helplessly as Abraham continued to burn in the street,” according to court papers.

Tinnin is seeking to recover personal injuries and pain and suffering. Economic damages will be determined during trial. There was no set date for trial as of press time.

Con Ed additionally has not reached out to Abraham’s family since her death. The power company did not return requests for comment.



Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


Wednesday: Partly cloudy with thunderstorms and rain showers. High of 84. Winds from the SW at 5 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 40%. Wednesday night: Partly cloudy with thunderstorms and rain showers. Fog overnight. Low of 68. Winds from the SW at 5 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 20%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Natalie Green: I’m building a shrine

The Chocolate Factory concludes its spring 2013 season with a new performance by Natalie Green. Her first evening length dance is personal and expressionistic. It is meant to be experienced as a dream, though it is grounded by earthly motivations. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

FBI agent’s car stolen in Ozone Park with assault rifle and bulletproof vest

An FBI agent’s personal vehicle — with an assault rifle in the trunk — was stolen outside his Queens home Tuesday night, law enforcement sources said. Read more: New York Daily News

Body found strangled, bagged in trunk of car likely missing mother of 3: cops

Police are investigating after a body believed to be that of a missing mother of three was found strangled to death in a bag in the trunk of her car in Queens. Read more: NBC New York

Workers at Queens car wash are first in city to sign union contract

Workers at a Queens car wash that was the first in the city to unionize now have a contract giving them a boost in pay and benefits. Read more: New York Daily News 

Bloomberg announces property tax relief for those impacted by Sandy 

Life after Hurricane Sandy is going to get a whole lot easier for New York City homeowners and businesses ravaged by the storm. Read more: CBS New York

Con Ed plans to invest $1B to protect system against major storms

Con Ed is taking steps to protect itself from major storms as the next hurricane season approaches. Read more: CBS New York

U.S. accuses currency exchange of laundering $6 billion

U.S. prosecutors have filed an indictment against the operators of digital currency exchange Liberty Reserve, accusing the Costa Rica-based company of helping criminals around the world launder more than $6 billion in illicit funds linked to everything from child pornography to software for hacking into banks. Read more: Reuters

Con Ed proposes new storm-protection measures

| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence Cullen

If a Sandy-esque storm were to come in the future, power company Consolidated Edison (Con Ed) wants to be prepared.

The electric company recently submitted plans that detail major investments to protect “critical equipment and customers from devastating storms” like Sandy, according to a Con Ed statement.

Long-term projects such as putting flood-proof equipment in low-lying areas, building higher flood walls around facilities, reinforcing overhead equipment and putting overhead lines underground to limit outages were proposed so that in the case that the Greater New York area is struck by another storm, Con Ed customers will be that much more protected.

However, the plans do not come without a price, and Con Ed estimates that price to be about $1 billion, which could be acquired through 2016, partly through federal funding. Also, Con Ed itself has committed $250 million to spend this year and next year on storm protection measures.

“We must invest in our systems in new ways to maintain safe, reliable service,” said Con Ed President, Craig S. Ivey.

To provide the remaining initial funding for this storm-protection effort, Con Ed proposed one-year delivery rates for electric, gas and steam services. This would raise a Con Ed customer’s electric bill only by 3.3 percent and gas by 1.3 percent. Due to fuel cost saving efforts, steam bills would decrease.

“Although the economy is improving, we are still working diligently to hold down costs for our customers,” said Ivey. “At the same time, the increased frequency and damage of storms assaulting our areas presents a major challenge.”

The company said that in the future, it is also committed to providing customers with “more accurate, individual restoration times,” as well as offering text messaging and other mobile communications for customers.

Con Ed’s new rate plans will be subject to an 11-month review, and if approved would cover the 2014 pay period.


Con Ed to invest $250 million to protect equipment against future storms

| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Con Ed has announced that it will secure $250 million for protecting city infrastructure and maintaining reliable service for customers during storms such as Sandy.

“Our commitment would represent an initial infusion of preventive measures [and] we expect that even greater investments will be needed as regional discussions evolve over the coming months and years,” the company said in a statement.

Con Ed invests nearly $2 billion annually in electric, gas and steam systems, but this $250 million will be reserved specifically for measures that can help protect critical equipment from flood damage.

To execute these measures, Con Ed would raise electrical relay houses in substations, install stronger barriers and flood pumps, and potentially put major overhead power lines underground.

“Con Ed recognizes that, in order to withstand a Category 2 hurricane, it needs to significantly harden its . . . systems,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “As this planning work begins, we’ll also have to look to identify steps we can take immediately.”

Gov. Cuomo receives high marks for Sandy response

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence Cullen

In a new Siena College poll, the majority of New York State voters said they were happy with how Governor Andrew Cuomo has handled the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

According to the results, 67 percent felt that the governor has done an excellent or good job, 22 percent said he has done a fair job and seven percent said he’s done a poor job.

In New York City, a slightly higher percentage, 70 percent, gave Cuomo a high rating.

In an effort to help with Sandy relief,  the  governor is travelling to Washington D.C. today to lobby for about $42 billion that the state needs to recover from the storm and protect itself from the next significant weather event.

State voters were almost as pleased with how President Obama and Mayor Michael Bloomberg handled the superstorm.

Sixty-one percent said that Obama did an excellent or good job and 55 percent gave Bloomberg the same rating.

In a Quinnipiac University poll from two weeks ago, New York City voters thought that Obama did a better job than Governor Cuomo, but gave him higher marks than Bloomberg.

But in the same poll, voters also rated New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s handling of the storm and its aftermath higher than all three politicians.

The Siena poll did not ask state voters about Christie.

It did, however, ask about the utility companies, FEMA and the MTA.

The majority of voters were pleased with FEMA and the Metropolitan Transit Agency, but gave Con Edison mixed ratings.

Forty-nine percent said that Con Ed did a good or excellent job, while 29 percent said the utility did a fair job and 15 percent gave it a poor rating.

Voters were not as happy with the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), which has received criticism on how it has responded to the storm.

Only one in six Long Islanders said LIPA did an excellent or good job with post-Sandy power problems, and 60 percent said it performed poorly.

The poll also asked about other aspects of Sandy, including how the storm affected voters—from home and business damage to school closings and power outages.

“Nearly one in seven voters suffered damage to their home, including one-quarter of downstate suburbanites. More than one-third lost their power, including more than eight in ten suburbanites.  And more than two-thirds of  New Yorkers saw their schools close for at least a day, and one-third had schools closed for at least a week,” said Siena pollster Steven Greenberg  “Not in a very long time has a natural disaster directly affected more New Yorkers than Sandy.

Additionally, the poll found that more than half of New Yorkers have made a financial contribution to a charitable organization raising money for those affected by Sandy, and 26 percent have volunteered their time.

The storm may have also forced New Yorkers to take global warming more seriously.

Because of Sandy and other significant storms from the last couple of years, 69 percent believe that they climate change is real.

Con Ed worker burned in Queens electrical accident

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

A Con Edison worker was burned in the face while responding to a reported outage at a commercial building in Maspeth Monday night, said the utility company.

The employee, who was testing equipment at 55-30 46th Street, near the corner of 55th Avenue, was injured in what a Con Ed spokesperson called an “electrical flash.”

Around 9:30 p.m. the worker was transported to New York Hospital Queens with serious but non-life injuries, said the FDNY.

Con Ed restores power to those without damaged equipment; thousands in Howard Beach, Broad Channel remain without lights

| brennison@queenscourier.com

File photo

Two weeks after Sandy knocked out electricity to more than 100,000 Queens residents, Con Edison announced power was restored to all customers whose equipment was not damaged during the storm.

Several thousand residents in Howard Beach and Broad Channel will remain without power until their equipment is deemed safe, Con Ed said.

The last Sandy outages throughout the rest of the borough were finally restored last night, Con Ed said in a release.

“We want to restore customers as much as they want the electricity back, but we will not restore customers unless it is safe to do so,” said a Con Ed spokesperson.

There are several steps residents in those areas must follow before their lights can be turned back on, Con Ed said.

Residents’ equipment must be inspected, cleaned and repaired by a licensed contractor; the contractor must then complete a self-certification form and email (hurricanesandybrooklynqueens@coned.com) or fax (718-802-6349) the form to Con Ed.

Tens of thousands of Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) customers in the Rockaways also remain without electricity.

Thousands more lose power after second storm strikes area

| brennison@queenscourier.com


Efforts to restore power to the thousands of Queens residents still without electricity was dealt another blow yesterday when another storm swept through the area, halting recovery efforts and adding thousands to the list of those without lights.

Con Edison restored power to about 90 percent of those tho lost electricity during Sandy before a nor’easter poured several inches of snow on the borough.  An additional 9,000 residents in Queens had their power knocked out yesterday by the storms high wind, heavy snow and rain.

Restorations were delayed temporarily yesterday due to the storm’s high winds making it unsafe for crews working on overhead equipment, Con Ed said.

Crews got back to work last night when the winds died down, a spokesperson said.  The company expects all customers, including those who lost power yesterday, to have power restored by the weekend.


Safety tips for returning home after Hurricane Sandy

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

When conditions allow, thousands of displaced residents will leave family members’ houses and evacuation centers to return home. When returning, residents should pack a cleanup kit and inspect their homes before entering. Here are some tips to ensure your return home is a safe one:

• Check for downed or loose power lines and gas leaks. Gas leaks will smell like rotten eggs; call Con Edison immediately if you suspect a leak. Do not touch downed power lines or anything in contact with them and do not attempt to drive over one.

• Examine the foundation, roof and chimney for cracks or other damage. Inspect porch roofs and overhangs. If you find obvious damage or have serious doubts about safety, contact a building inspector before you go inside.

• Enter your home slowly. If the door sticks at the top as it opens, it could mean the ceiling is ready to cave in. If you force the door open, stand outside to avoid being hit by falling debris.

• If after you enter you smell gas or hear a hissing or blowing sound, open a window, leave immediately and turn off the main gas valve from the outside, if you can.

• Check water and sewage systems; if pipes are damaged, turn off the main water valve.

• When cleaning up, wear protective clothing and make sure your hands, arms, feet and legs are covered. If you have cuts on your hands or other body parts, protect them from contact with water or debris. You will want to protect yourself from inhaling harmful odors or fumes while cleaning up.