Consolidated Edison, facing intense political flak after superstorm Sandy, has no plans to apply for a rate increase despite the company's projected $350 million-$450 million tab from the tempest.
"At this time, we have no plans to file a rate case," the utility said Thursday in an emailed response to questions. Con Edison, which serves Westchester County and New York City, had been expected to seek a rate increase in November with the state Public Service Commission, but it can file for one at any time, a commission spokesman said.
Con Edison, its subsidiary Orange & Rockland Utilities and other electricity providers have faced withering criticism after delays of a week or more in restoring power to roughly half a million people in the Hudson Valley and 2 million statewide who lost power after Sandy made landfall Oct. 29.
On Nov. 5, Con Ed reported third-quarter net income of $440 million, or $1.50 a share, compared with income of $393 million, or $1.31 a share, for the same quarter a year ago. But in recent weeks, the utility's stock has sagged to $54.34 a share, far off its 52-week high of $65.98.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been calling for top-to-bottom reform of the industry, and on Tuesday, he announced that he had put together a special commission to investigate how the public utility companies have handled major storms in the past two years.
Also earlier this week, LIPA chief operating officer Michael Hervey resigned, effective Dec. 31.
Bob McGee, a spokesman for Con Edison, acknowledged that the company has been going through a trying time.
Before Sandy struck, McGee said he went to a Chinese restaurant and cracked open a fortune cookie. Its message: "Sometimes life is not about playing the cards in a good hand, but about playing a bad hand well."
Said McGee, "Lo and behold, that's certainly what we've been dealt here."