State Assemblyman Michael Gianaris has accused Consolidated Edison of squandering money on advertising while Queens businesses could barely make ends meet after last summer’s blackout. In a press conference on Sunday, Gianaris claimed that the power company spent more than a half-million dollars promoting itself in the months following the weeklong blackout. But while they were busy doing damage control, many local storeowners had yet to receive full compensation for business lost, says Gianaris. He acknowledges that Con Ed did offer businesses $7,000, but he wants them to fully reimburse owners. A spokeswoman for Con Ed says the company has spent $90-million in repairs in Northwest Queens, and paid more than $14-million to customers who were affected.
Meanwhile, Con Ed is preparing to raise electricity prices next year. Con Ed Chief Financial Officer Robert Hoglund told an investors’ conference that the company will file a request for “substantial” rate increases, but no papers have been filed with the state Public Service Commission yet. One big hike has already been approved and will hit next month, adding 3.3 percent to homeowners’ electric bills and 2.8 percent to small-business bills.