Shutdown Was Needed
In response to John Toscano's article, "Gianaris: TV Tapes Show Con Ed Knew Size of Blackout From the Start" (Feb. 14, 2007, page 11), we point out that our employees in the field worked tirelessly to prevent a network shutdown. Ultimately, that decision was made by engineers who had the broadest view of overall system conditions, such as the drop in electrical load, equipment temperatures and ongoing repairs, which were being monitored minute by minute.
A shutdown of the Long Island City network would have cut power to over 115,000 customers, interrupted service on several subway lines and the Long Island Rail Road, and affected the lives of more than 1 million people--with no guarantee that power would have been restored any sooner. We believed then, and still believe, that that would have been a worse situation.
Since the events in Northwest Queens, Con Edison has improved our network systems, operating performance and emergency response procedures. We will continue to improve our operations and procedures to reduce the likelihood of similar occurrences in the future, and will continue to work closely with city and state agencies.
Concerning the customer outage count, we have acknowledged that initially we did a poor job of estimating the number of customers without electricity. We have since made significant changes to the way we count the number of customers affected by power problems, including assigning engineers to analyze equipment data, field response teams to survey affected areas and enhanced computer applications, in addition to the calls we receive from customers.
Consolidated Edison Media Relations