1250 Broadway, 27th Floor New York, NY 10001


After nine days without power, New York City's residential customers impacted by the recent outage may file claims seeking to recover damages "for actual losses of food spoiled due to lack of refrigeration," up to a maximum of $350. While all claims must be "itemized," losses in excess of $150 are typically required to be accompanied by proof (like cash register tapes, store or credit card receipts, canceled checks, identifying price labels or UPC bar codes from merchandise, and photographs of spoiled items). As a goodwill gesture, though, Con Edison has recently announced that it is waiving its "proof" requirement for the victims of the July 2006 outage. (Isn't that gracious?)
Considering the relatively low compensation being offered, we think the utility's form requires needless information and detail. Con Edison knows full well who was impacted by the outage. Why compound the inconvenience customers experienced--many living nine days without services like air conditioning, elevators or refrigerators--with tedious paperwork that requires them to identify each food item by type, quantity ("pounds, ounces, dozen"), and cost?
And, in our opinion, reimbursement of up to $350 is an insult. Consumers should be fairly and adequately compensated for their losses. Even Attorney General Elliot Spitzer has called for change. In a press release, dated July 24, 2006, Spitzer demanded a hike in compensation levels. In fact, his office recommended an increase in the monies payable to consumers back in March 2000, to no avail.
We believe enough is enough and call for legislative action. With about $12 billion in annual revenues and $25 billion in assets, Con Edison can afford to cut the victims of the July 2006 outage a bigger break.
For a copy of Con Edison's "Residential Claim for Food Spoilage," please click on the following link:
For a copy of the Attorney General's press release, dated July 24, 2006, please click on the following link:
For a copy of the Attorney General's March 2000 report, entitled "Con Edison's July 1999 Electric Service Outage," please click on the following link: