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In the last couple of years, New York City has suffered a substantial amount of hardship coming from extreme weather. Hurricane Sandy in 2012 impacted the city in a significant way, as it leveled many areas of New York and New Jersey, and infrastructure in these affected areas was damaged and destroyed, leaving many property owners forced to deal with dangerous premises as a result.
And in light of this, a major settlement was brokered between New York Public Service Commission (NYPSC) and Consolidated Edison (known as "ConEd"), New York City's primary utility supplier, which will put the responsibility of preparation for any future extreme weather onto ConEd.

The settlement agreement requires ConEd to research how climate change may impact its facilities and provide for renovation of its current facilities to withstand any extreme weather that may be present in the future. A study projected that another Sandy-like storm in New York in the next 50 years may cause up to $90 billion dollars worth of damage to New York infrastructure, thus reinforcing why the new plan is crucial for New York.

The settlement agreement came about after Hurricane Sandy when New York came to a grinding halt and damaged a significant portion of ConEd's infrastructure, which primarily controls electricity, steam, and natural gas output in NYC. ConEd requested about $1 billion dollars so that it could "harden" its lines ("hardening" is the process of making utility lines and other power facilities able to withstand extreme weather). New York City is hoping, through the brokerage of this agreement, to kick start other utilities within the State to make similar deals for the future, and hopefully these adjustments will have a nationwide ripple effect.

ConEd, because of the damage that Hurricane Sandy and Irene had to its infrastructure, is thought to be in the perfect position to make the changes. Since March 2010, ConEd has faced the four largest power outages related to extreme weather in its history. Nearly 175,000 ConEd customers lost power throughout the city during one of the storms, while Hurricane Sandy took out power to 1.1 million customers.

Governor Cuomo's Deal to Freeze ConEd's Electric and Gas rates

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, who received the brunt of the criticism for the power outages and the extreme weather preparedness of New York City during Hurricane Irene and Hurricane Sandy, called for ConEd to decrease the electric and gas rates that the company charges. ConEd, however, agreed to a two year freeze to their electric and gas rates until at least 2016. This is significant, considering New York has one of the highest costs for electricity in the country. However, many are worried that after 2016, there will be a considerable jump in the electric and gas rates to overcompensate for the freeze. 

NYC Premise Liability Attorneys

Consolidated Edison's initiative to take on the storm and extreme weather preparedness comes at just the right time, as New York is still rebuilding itself from the last few storms and the polar vortex that has ravaged the city streets. Extreme weather and climate preparedness has a trickle down effect, and responsibility is delegated in all sectors and at all levels around the city.

New York City must ensure that the infrastructure of its streets are safe, that its transit systems function correctly and safely, and property owners must ensure that their buildings are satisfying health and safety codes and that they adequately protect their residents.

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of unsafe premises or poorly-maintained residences and/or infrastructure, please contact one of our experienced premise liability attorneys at Keogh Crispi, P.C., serving the New York City area. Our legal professionals will be able to counsel and offer guidance as to your rights. Call us today at 212- 818-0600 or send us a message online. 

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Keogh Crispi

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Phone: 212-518-2417
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