Tag Archives: con ed

Con Ed prepping for storm, potential power outages


| brennison@queenscourier.com

The high winds and heavy rains expected with Hurricane Sandy may knock out power in areas of the city.  In preparation for the storm, Con Edison has thousands of employees working around the clock to respond to any problems with electric, gas, and steam systems.

” The company has secured over 700 external contractors, including line workers, tree crews and damage assessors, to assist with storm restoration,” Con Ed said in a press release.

Downed trees and power lines remains a high possibility with sustained winds at 50 mph with gusts at 80 mph forecasted with the storm.

Underground electrical equipment may need to be shut down if low-lying areas begin to flood, the company said.  This allows the equipment to avoid extensive damage and allows crews to restore power more quickly.

Customers can report downed power lines, outages at www.conEd.com or by calling 1-800-75-CONED (1-800-752-6633).

 

 

Small businesses cashing in with Con Ed energy efficiency programs


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Small businesses throughout New York City and Westchester County are taking advantage of a Con Edison energy-efficiency program to save money and preserve the environment.

The program focuses on assisting small businesses by providing them with incentives of up to 70 percent for the cost of upgrading major heating, cooling and lighting systems.

Con Edison will provide small businesses with free energy surveys and free energy conservation measures, such as compact fluorescent light bulbs and water heater thermostats. To qualify, small businesses need to have an average monthly peak demand of less than 100 kilowatts.

The utility highlighted its small business programs at a press conference recently at The New Shanghai Tan Restaurant in Flushing. That business had Con Edison conduct an energy survey that showed it could save $1,500 a year by investing $534 in energy-efficient lighting.

“I encourage every business in our community, both large and small, to take a look at Con Edison’s programs,” said Peter Tu, executive director of the Flushing Chinese Business Association. “This should be of particular importance to us here in Flushing because our business community is growing so rapidly.”

“Our energy-efficiency programs save small businesses money that they can use for investments like new equipment, hiring employees or marketing,” said Esteban Vasquez, a manager in Energy Efficiency and Demand Management for Con Edison. “Businesses that save energy gain a competitive edge and protect the environment.”

Con Edison has conducted energy surveys for 5,600 small businesses this year. And 3,000 of those small businesses have made energy upgrades, saving an estimated 38,000,000 kilowatt hours of usage.

Con Edison’s energy efficiency programs for businesses and homeowners can be found at www.coned.com/greenteam. Customers can also call the company’s Green Team at 1-877-870-6118.

City agencies prepping for “Frankenstorm”


| brennison@queenscourier.com

With Hurricane Sandy barreling toward the city, city agencies are preparing for the possible massive storm.

The heavy rain and strong winds can cause unsafe conditions throughout the public transportation system and on the city’s bridges and tunnels.  No decision has been made yet as to whether there will be any service stoppages during the storm.

“We are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Joe Lhota. “Whatever happens, we’ll be ready.

They MTA last suspended operation during Hurricane Irene. The MTA’s hurricane plan calls for “an orderly shutdown of service before the arrival of sustained winds of 39 mph or higher.  Sustained winds are forecasted to be between 40-50 mph.

Those high winds and rain falling at 1-2 inches per hour may also knock out power.

“This is a large unpredictable storm, so be prepared for outages,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

Con Edison has crews prepping for the conditions that could effect the city’s electric, gas and steam systems.

Customers can report downed power lines and outages at www.conEd.com. They also can call 1-800-75-CONED (1-800-752-6633).

In the event the hurricane hits our area, Con Edison offered the following safety tips:

  •  If you see downed electrical wires, do not go near them. Treat all downed wires as if they are live. Never attempt to move or touch them with any object. Be mindful that downed wires can be hidden from view by tree limbs, leaves or water.
  • Report all downed wires to Con Edison and your local police department immediately. If a power line falls on your car while you’re in it, stay inside the vehicle and wait for emergency personnel.
  • If your power goes out, turn off all lights and appliances to prevent overloaded circuits when power is restored.
  • Check to make sure your flashlights and any battery-operated radios are working. Also, make sure you have a supply of extra batteries. Weather updates and news on power outages can be heard on most local radio and television stations.
  • Avoid opening your freezer to see if food is still frozen. Every time you open the door, room-temperature air enters and speeds the thawing process. Most fully loaded freezers will keep food frozen for approximately 36 to 48 hours; half-full freezers will keep food frozen for approximately 24 hours.

Power outages throughout Queens


| brennison@queenscourier.com

mini-blackout7w

Severe storms striking the area have knocked out power to hundreds of customers in Queens.

Heavy rains and strong winds are expected to pound the area throughout the night.  Downed trees and limbs place power lines at risk.

Approximately 200 borough residents still find themselves without power. Earlier this evening nearly 1,500 were without electricity in Queens.

Con Ed is responding to the outages.  To report power loss call 800-75CONED.

The company also issued some safety tips in the event you see a downed power line:

  • If you see downed electrical wires, do not go near them. Treat all downed wires as if they are live. Never attempt to move them or touch them with your hands or any object. Be mindful that downed wires can be hidden from view by tree limbs, leaves or water.
  • Report all downed wires to Con Edison and your local police department immediately. If a power line falls on your car while you’re in it, stay inside the vehicle and wait for emergency personnel.
  • If your power goes out, disconnect or turn off appliances that would otherwise turn on automatically when service is restored. If several appliances start up at once, the electric circuits may overload.
  • Check to make sure your flashlights and any battery-operated radios are in working order. Make sure you have a supply of extra batteries.
  • Weather updates and news on restorations of electrical service can be heard on most local radio and television stations.

Con Ed, union reach deal, end lock out


| brennison@queenscourier.com

mini-blackout7w

Thunderstorms threatening New York City helped Con Edison and its workers strike a tentative deal ending a month long lock out.

After a temporary deal was struck earlier in the day to send some workers back to the job, Con Ed, Local 1-2 of the Utility Workers of America and Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a tentative agreement on a new four-year deal.

“We would like to thank Governor Cuomo for his support and guidance in helping Con Edison and the leadership of UWUA Local 1-2 reach a tentative agreement that is fair and equitable for our employees and customers,” Con Ed said in a statement.  “We look forward to our union employees returning to work. We appreciate the efforts of everyone involved in the talks to reach this agreement.”

All electrical operations workers are to head to work immediately, the union’s website said, with all other employees to return for their next regular shift.

Electric operations workers were to return to work to assist with potential power restoration resulting from approaching storms before the deal was reached.

“Our people are certainly not going to let down New York City if there is an emergency,” said John Melia, spokesperson for Local 1-2.

But now any problems that arise during the potentially dangerous storms will have a fully staffed Con Ed to handle them.

Approximately 8,500 workers have been locked out since the beginning of July. Over that time, 5,000 management personnel have maintained the system.

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Five people killed, including two children, in fiery Queens SUV rollover horror

Five people were killed, including two children, after leaving a Nigerian heritage celebration in Queens early Sunday when their speeding SUV, swerving after blowing through two red lights, slammed into a concrete pillar, rolled over and burst into flames, police and witnesses said. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Con Ed customers could pay for ’08 death blast

Ed customers could be slapped with part of the bill for a horrific 2008 gas explosion that killed a Queens man and left his daughter needing medical care for the rest of her life. The family of Edgar Zaldumbide won a $20 million settlement from Con Ed, according to documents obtained by The Post. Read more: [New York Post] 

Beach replenishment coming to Rockaway

Sand-starved sections of Rockaway Beach, battered by erosion and Hurricane Irene, could be replenished later this year, according to the city Parks Department. The Bloomberg administration made a last-minute $3 million allocation to the agency’s budget to pay for the project. The money will be used to transfer sand dredged from the East Rockaway Inlet by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Queens man dead after ATV crash 

A Queens man is dead after police say he crashed his ATV into a metal pole Saturday night. Investigators said 33-year-old Dave Thomas was riding his ATV on the sidewalk on Merrick Boulevard in Jamaica when he hit the pole. Read more: [NY1] 

Annual Colombian Day Parade held in Jackson Heights 

A sea of red, blue and yellow filled the streets of Jackson Heights Sunday for the annual Colombian Day Parade. More than 75,000 people lined the parade route along Northern Boulevard waving their flags. The sounds of cumbia and salsa filled the air, along with the aroma of traditional Colombian food and treats. Read more: [NY1] 

Three weeks in, health insurance reinstated for Con Ed workers


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Three weeks after contract negotiations began between Con Ed and representatives from the Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2, the utility giant reinstated health coverage for its 8,500 locked out workers.

Local 1-2 spokesperson John Melia claimed the company’s decision to cut off health insurance at the start of the lockout was illegal.

“They broke the law, we caught them at it and they put insurance back in place,” said Melia. “They knew they broke the law. They knew they were in the wrong.”

According to Melia, Con Ed cost state unemployment assistance agencies millions of dollars after refusing to pay for workers’ benefits, forcing them to look elsewhere for help. Melia added that since the company is self-insured, revoking benefits was a “double crime against the 8,500 New York families” affected during the lockout.

“They don’t care about their customers and they don’t care about their workers,” said Melia. “How are they getting away with charging the people of New York to throw workers on the street?”

According to a Con Ed spokesperson, employees who worked after midnight on June 30 — the day the contract ran out –- continued to receive health care through the month of July. Those who did not work past the first of the month were released from their company-offered insurance and instead presented with the option of purchasing benefits through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) — a Department of Labor-sponsored program that provides dismissed or laid-off workers and their families benefits. The representative said only a very small number of workers retained coverage in the interim.

On July 15, Con Ed officials notified union leadership after deciding to reinstate coverage for all locked out workers through July. Medical costs incurred during the course of the lockout will also be covered. The official did not say why Con Ed executives came to this conclusion.

Neither side could say whether or not talks had progressed any further.

More than 2,500 Queens residents without power


| brennison@queenscourier.com

File photo

More than 2,000 Queens residents are without power thanks to a powerful storm that swept through the area with high winds, rain and hail.

Downed power lines have knocked out electricity for approximately 1,000 Con Edison customers in both Fresh Meadows and Middle Village.

A spokesperson for the company said overhead wires are susceptible to braches, rain and hail during thunderstorms.

Con Ed workers are currently at the scene.

The company estimated the power will be restored in these areas by approximately 3 a.m.

Outages of this sort are easier to restore than infrastructure problems, the spokesperson said.

These are not the only areas experiencing problems from the storm; nearly 500 residents in Maspeth are without power along with 50 in Clearview.

Other outages are scattered throughout the borough.

 

Energy-saving tips for staying cool


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

As the temperature rises, so do electric bills. To save money while staying cool, Con Edison offers these energy-saving tips.

  • Make sure air conditioner filters are clean for peak efficiency.
  • Set thermostats no lower than 78 degrees. Each degree lower increases cooling costs by 6 percent.
  • Close off the rooms not being used if you have a room air-conditioner; if you have central air, block the vents in unused or vacant rooms.
  • Turn off lights and other appliances, and use a timer to turn them on as necessary.
  • Run appliances such as ovens, washing machines, dryers and dishwashers in the early morning or late at night when it’s generally cooler.
  • Accept Con Edison’s offer of a free programmable thermostat if you have central air conditioning. Program the thermostat manually or from the Internet. Turning off your air conditioner when you are not there beats leaving it on all the time, and programming it instead to turn on before you return is a wise way to save on summer electric bills. To learn more about Con Edison’s free programmable thermostat, call 1-866-521-8600 or visit www.conEd.com/cool.

Con Edison also reminds customers that $25 rebates are available for customers who invest in cost-cutting Energy Star-rated room air conditioners. Applications for the $25 rebate can be downloaded at www.coned.com/roomacrebates.

 

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Qns. state Assembly candidate profits from prostitution ads in his newspaper

A Queens state Assembly candidate who publishes a Korean-language newspaper is profiting from ads for a prostitution ring on the paper’s back pages, The Post has learned. Myungsuk Lee, 49, the owner of the Korean American Times, is one of several Democrats vying for an open seat in the newly created 40th District. He trumpets his accomplishments on the paper’s front pages — while the back pages run ads for massage services that serve as covers for prostitution, sex workers said. Read more: [New York Post] 

Rockaway residents worry beach is getting trashy 

Lauren O’Connor lives near the shore in Rockaway. But trying to get to the sand with her toddler daughter is no easy feat. Once she gets there, the trash on the beach adds insult to injury. “There’s no ramp anymore so I have to somehow get this big wagon down the stairs,” said O’Connor. “Then I get down here and it’s filthy. I have to clean it up.” Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Former Congressman Weiner reportedly eyes political comeback 

Former Congressman Anthony Weiner is reportedly engineering a political comeback, as he still has more than $4 million in his campaign coffers. Sources tell the New York Post that Weiner is considering a run for mayor or public advocate next year. Read more: [NY1] 

Social Security snafu traps Queens woman 

A Queens septuagenarian became entangled in a bureaucratic snafu after an agency deemed her incapable of handling her own money. The unwelcome surprise tarnished her golden years, she says, and should be a cautionary tale for fellow seniors. Forest Hills resident Beverely Byrne said her Social Security check was mistakenly given to the city Human Resource Administration to manage in May under incorrect pretenses. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Mayor: NYCLU does not “do anything” to end need for stop-and-frisks 

Mayor Michael Bloomberg continued to vigorously defend the city’s Stop & Frisk policy during a visit to a church in St. Albans, Queens on Sunday. Speaking at the Greater Allen Cathedral, the mayor said the policy has a proven track record and has recovered thousands of illegal guns over the past decade. Read more: [NY1] 

UPDATE: Con Ed reinstates health insurance for locked-out workers; negotiations to resume Monday 

Consolidated Edison of New York has reinstated health insurance for 8,500 locked-out New York utility workers. A Con Ed spokesman said on Sunday that negotiations with the Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2 will resume on Monday, as another heat wave is expected to hit New York City. Read more: [1010wins] 

As talks continue, locked out Con Ed workers worried about families, future


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Alexa Altman

Maurice camped outside the College Point Con Ed facility, withstanding the blistering midsummer heat not just for himself and his fellow locked-out workers, but for his four-year-old daughter.

The little girl, born with an intestinal atresia, was denied medical coverage when her parents took her to the doctor to receive treatment for her condition on July 2 – the day the lockout began and health benefits for employees and their families were cut off. According to Maurice, a pharmacy refused to hand over the girl’s medicine, which she takes daily along with IV fluids.

The girl’s insurance is suspended until a letter, supplied by Con Ed, is presented to her doctor. According to Maurice, who chose not to give his last name, Con Ed estimated it will take at least 16 days for them to hand over the document.

“We’re going through enough with the lockout,” said Maurice. “My main concern is my baby. We don’t need this.”

Sporting sunburns and looks of distaste, Maurice and 200 other Con Ed employees stationed themselves outside the northern Queens facility, protesting the utility giant’s decision to remove them from their jobs.

“It hurts,” said Joe Mussillo, who has worked for Con Ed for over 35 years. “We put in our all and we maintain the city.”

The union safety department worker, who joined the company when he was 18 years old, lamented the lockout, leaving thousands to stress over mortgages and medical bills. He feared for the security of workers’ jobs and the families who rely on them.

“All we want is a fair contract,” said Mussillo. “It’s what we’ve wanted from the beginning.”

Bill Schutt, a Vietnam War veteran who has spent 44 years working for Con Ed, believed his job was a “cradle to grave” occupation. Several years away from retirement, Schutt claims the company’s agenda is to “buy, sell and break the union.”

“This is the respect they show the people,” he bellowed. “They don’t like us. They don’t have respect for us.”

Turning to the group of picketers behind him, Schutt asked who wanted to go back to work.

Each of their hands shot up.

Con Ed officials and union representatives returned to the bargaining table at noon on Tuesday, July 10. According to Local 1-2 spokesperson John Melia, Con Ed responded with an undisclosed offer and union representatives are reviewing their proposal.

“If things progress, they’ll stay there around the clock,” said Melia. “There’s no time limit when you’re in the middle of these things. It really depends on the progress made.”

As of press time, Con Ed representatives would not say anything other than the talks had resumed.

Weekend Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com

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Sex offender busted for ‘fondling’ young girls in Queens library

A registered sex offender has been arrested for allegedly fondling two young girls last month inside a Queens library. Joel Grubert, 49, was spotted on surveillance camera groping the victims, ages 6 and 9, at about 6:20 p.m. June 23 inside the Queens Library branch at 41-17 Main St. in Flushing, police said. Read more: NY Post

Con Edison, union resume talks Tuesday as NYC bakes

Contract talks between Consolidated Edison Inc and locked-out union workers ended on Saturday after a few hours with both sides agreeing to meet again on Tuesday as New York City baked in extreme heat. Con Ed spokesman Alfonso Quiroz confirmed negotiations between the company and the union had concluded and will resume Tuesday at noon. Read more: Reuters

Queens boxer Will Rosinsky has strong first round in fight against Kelly Pavlik but loses in unanimous decision

The way Queens boxer Will Rosinsky started his fight with Kelly Pavlik, darting in and out of danger, throwing and landing too many punches to count, was a total blur. It was a staggering pace, like a runner trying to sprint the length of a marathon. Rosinsky, who works as an EMT in East New York, fought the first round like a man possessed, dipping down, showing Pavlik angles, landing solid overhand rights, in close to Pavlik to blunt the taller man’s blows. Read more: Daily News

Off-duty cop busted for DWI after he crashed car in Queens

An off-duty cop was busted for DWI early today after he crashed his car in Queens, police said. Brayan Terrazas, 26, was collared after he slammed his vehicle into a concrete traffic median near Jackson Avenue and 43rd Avenue in Hunters Point just before 3 a.m., police said. Read more: NY Post

Con Ed worker arrested for alleged false leak report as lockout continues

Police in Westchester County arrested a Consolidated Edison worker Saturday for falsely reporting a gas leak as the utilities workers continue to be locked off the job. Police in Yonkers said the employee was arrested Saturday for reporting a nonexistent gas leak. Sources told NY1 that Con Ed customer service representative Lorraine Erikson was trying to sabotage the utility company when she made the false claims. Read more: NY1

 

Weekend Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com

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3 men killed in barrage of bullets in Queens

Three men died in blizzard of bullets early Saturday when a nightclub dispute over a girl spilled into the Queens streets, police and friends of the victims said. A fourth man was wounded around 5 a.m. when an unknown gunman fired 63 shots in from an AK-47 into a double-parked Jeep Grand Cherokee outside 185-4 144th Ave., police said. Read more: Daily News

Two girls groped in Flushing branch of Queens Library

Police were searching Friday for a man wanted for allegedly groping two girls at a Queens Library branch last month. Authorities said the suspect touched a six-year-old and a nine-year-old inappropriately at the downtown Flushing branch on Main Street on June 23. Read More: NY1

Frozen meat and poultry recalled over listeria concern

Buona Vita Inc. is recalling various frozen, ready-to-eat meat and poultry products due to possible contamination with Listeria monocytogenes, federal officials announced. The problem was discovered through microbiological testing by FSIS and the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA). There have not been any reports of illnesses due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about an illness should contact a healthcare provider. Read More: ABC

Report: Knicks intend to match Jeremy Lin’s offer from Houston

They say everything is bigger in Texas. We’ll soon find out concerning Jeremy Lin’s contract. The restricted free-agent point guard and the Houston Rockets have agreed to terms on a four-year offer, according to multiple reports. Read More: CBS

Talks between Con Ed, union continue as heat wave bakes city

As the temperature rises, so does the risk of power outages, a fact that is magnified with Con Edison workers locked out as contract talks continue. Temperatures are forecasted to reach 100 degrees on Saturday, and with 8,500 workers locked out, the task of maintaining the system — which can be strained in the heat — falls to 5,000 management personnel. Read More: Queens Courier

Talks between Con Ed, union continue as heat wave bakes city


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Con Ed

As the temperature rises, so does the risk of power outages, a fact that is magnified with Con Edison workers locked out as contract talks continue.

Temperatures are forecasted to reach 100 degrees on Saturday, and with 8,500 workers locked out, the task of maintaining the system — which can be strained in the heat — falls to 5,000 management personnel.

“We have to be prepared for anything in the hot weather,” said Con Ed spokesperson Sara Banda. “We have 5,000 management personnel, half of which came from the union.”

The company said voltage reductions are possible throughout the borough as a precaution as the heat increases, though there are none currently in Queens.

Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2, which represents the locked out workers, said that in the sweltering heat, it’s only a matter of time before the heat wave affects service.

“God forbid something happens. The grid is under strain in the hot weather. You can see it from the voltage reduction,” said union spokesperson John Melia of the reductions in other parts of the city.

“[The locked out workers’] belief is that sooner or later — with this kind of heat — Con Ed will be overwhelmed and then that puts public lives in danger.”

Banda said Con Ed’s staff is ready for any emergency, but did not want to speculate on large scale outages.

Talks continued between Con Ed and the union today, thought little progress was made, Melia said.

Con Ed workers still locked out, talks to continue Thursday


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Con Ed

As temperatures spiked and residents across the city feared power outages, Con Edison locked out more than 8,000 workers over heated contract talks – leaving 5,000 management personnel responsible for maintaining electric, gas and steam service for the company’s 3.2 million customers.

The power giant blamed the stalemate on leaders of the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) Local 1-2 — the union representing roughly 8,000 Con Edison employees — who refused to accept its offer to extend their members’ contract for two weeks.

“[The workers] are fired up. They are just fired up,” said Local 1-2 spokesperson John Melia. “They are supporting union leadership in measures that haven’t been seen in years. We have 100 percent support.”

According to Melia, talks between the utility giant and union members were unable to progress. Tensions and tempers peaked at Con Ed’s decision to switch to a 401(k) plan rather than the current, $8 billion defined pension benefits plan – a decision based on an updated business model rather than an economic rationale, according to Melia.

In a side-by-side analysis of both plans, Melia said a retiree on Con Ed’s defined pension plan gets $2,000 a month, while the same person under a 401(k) receives $800 a month.

According to Melia, it takes about 15 years of training to advance through the ranks at Con Ed.

“It’s a lifetime commitment to the people of the city of New York,” said Melia.

The company said its proposal to extend the current contract remains on the table and if union leadership agreed to extend the present agreement, Con Ed would welcome its employees back immediately. Electricity executives allegedly offered to continue negotiations if each side agreed to give a week’s notice of a strike or work stoppage, which the union rejected.

Con Ed suspended meter reading in most areas and closed several walk-in centers due to the lockout.

According to Con Ed, the lockout occurred because of the lack of a contract, the possibility that the union might call a surprise strike, and the company’s fear that it could not assure customers reliable service.

“The system is holding up and everything is working well,” said Con Ed spokesperson Alfonso Quiroz in regards to the lockout occurring during a heat wave.

According to Melia, on Thursday, July 5, federal mediation services will assist with continued talks at a meeting between both parties.