NY1 VIDEO: The Road to City Hall’s Errol Louis visited City Councilman Daniel Dromm’s 25th city council district in Queens.
From Jackson Heights Times: After two manhole explosions rattled Queens over the past two weeks, state Sen. Hiram Monserrate (D−East Elmhurst), his elected Council successor Julissa Ferreras and Democratic District Leader Daniel Dromm gathered in Jackson Heights Friday to call on Consolidated Edison to step up its monitoring efforts.
Since January, there have been 40 electrical incidents reported in the city, including the explosions at 77th Street and 37th Road and at 40th Avenue and 43rd Street, Monserrate said. Con Ed spokesman Chris Olert said the number was probably accurate, but noted that the FDNY has recorded fewer manhole incidents this year than last.
Monserrate, Ferreras and Dromm suggested Con Ed was not putting any of the increased revenues it got from a recent rate hike into the infrastructure of communities like Jackson Heights. “If you’re going to increase your rates, you should have safety for your customer,” Ferreras said. She and Dromm also called on the utility to send out more inspectors to areas of aging infrastructure.
From Queens Chronicle: For many pedestrians and motorists, traversing the streets and sidewalks of western Queens has turned into a game of Russian roulette. A manhole cover explosion last Thursday at 77th Street and 37th Road in Jackson Heights was the 13th incident in Queens linked to Con Edison since the beginning of the year, according to state Sen. Hiram Monserrate (D-East Elmhurst).
Democratic District Leader Danny Dromm, who plans to run against Councilwoman Helen Sears (D-Jackson Heights) in September’s primary, joined Monseratte and Ferreras at the site of last week’s 77th Street blast, demanding more oversight of a utility giant responsible for repairing and maintaining 93,000 miles of underground electrical cable throughout the city and upstate Westchester County.
“Queens residents want to know what is going on and why this is happening with such frequency in our borough,” Dromm said.
From Queens Gazette:Following two manhole explosions in Jackson Heights and Elmhurst last week, state Senator Hiram Monserrate and City Councilmember-elect Julissa Ferreras called on Con Edison to investigate the incidents. Monserrate (D- Jackson Heights), who was joined in the request by local Democratic District Leader Daniel Dromm, said that in working with the state Public Service Commission (PSC), he had uncovered more than 40 “electrical incidents” throughout the five boroughs since January.
Dromm said, “Queens residents want to know what is going on and why this is happening with such frequency in the borough.”
A Con Ed spokesman explained that the company has undertaken a program to replace the present manhole covers with vented ones to prevent smoke from smoldering cables from building up, causing fires and sending the manhole covers flying.
From NY Daily News:
Con Edison must step up to the plate following a week of two separate manhole explosions in Jackson Heights and Elmhurst, elected officials said.
New state Sen. Hiram Monserrate, City Councilwoman-elect Julissa Ferreras and District Leader Daniel Dromm on Friday demanded an investigation into the utility giant’s infrastructure.
Monserrate accused the company of repeatedly putting residents in harm’s way. This year alone, there have been more than 40 reported incidents citywide – 13 of them in Queens, he said. These included power outages, electrical fires and carbon monoxide scares that have forced residents to evacuate their homes in the middle of the night.
Ferreras noted the last manhole explosion happened in the early morning hours of March 5, just steps from Public School 69 in Jackson Heights.
“This could have been a tragedy. A school bus could’ve been right there,” she said.
Recent power outages left (parts of) Jackson Heights without lights and oil burners for more than 12 hours, Dromm said.
“We’re demanding that Con Ed give us answers and shed light on their future plans to provide reliable service,” he said. “We want them to put some of their billion-dollar profit back into the communities they serve.”
“Once again, Con Ed has failed its customers, said Daniel Dromm, a Jackson Heights Democratic district leader. “Almost a whole block of Jackson Heights residents was forced to suffer through an icy cold winter night without electric or heat. Con Ed must be held accountable.”
Con Ed was seen working in the neighborhood on Thursday. According to several 73rd Street residents, the workers finished at about 2 PM. Shortly thereafter, there was no electricity. Whether or not the two things are related remains a mystery. One resident reported hearing an explosion of some sort and then having no electric service.
“Con Ed gave no immediate reason for the outage,” Dromm continued. “That’s a big part of the problem.” Once informed of the situation, Dromm went to the site at approximately 7 PM. “That was almost five hours after the outage began yet Con Ed had not contacted any of the customers to tell them what had happened or when the electric might be turned back on.”
“Worse yet,” Dromm said, “Con Ed had not begun working on the problem. When I arrived, Con Ed employees were trying to tow cars using a private tow company to access two manholes on the sidewalk.”
Dromm spoke with a number of the residents on 73rd Street. Many were bundled up in two sets of winter coats and complained of having no electricity, heat or hot water. Dromm knocked on several residents’ doors to ask what had happened. Dromm could see lit candles through the windows in the affected homes.
“One resident said his neighbors had to leave their house with their children because it was so cold inside it was unbearable,” Dromm explained. “Another resident told me that her elderly handicapped neighbor had to climb the stairs by sitting down one step at a time.”
Dromm approached several Con Ed employees to ask what had happened. The workers said they didn’t know what occurred and they did not know when electric power would be restored.
Dromm informed several residents that he would call a news conference at 11 AM on Friday morning, February 20, 2009 to put pressure on Con Ed to demand that . . .
1. When power outages occur, Con Ed employees inform local residents of the circumstances around the outage and about when they might expect service to be restored.
2. Customers be fully reimbursed for any and all spoiled goods.
3. When these outages occur on cold winter nights provisions be made to ensure the safety and well being of the residents especially the elderly and disabled.
4. Because the Jackson Heights neighborhood seems to have suffered a series of recent Con Ed problems over the last week, Con Ed report to the community its long term plans for ensuring the safe delivery of electricity.
5. Con Ed rebuild the rotting infrastructure so as to provide reliable electric service to our community.
For a few hours at least, a quiet Jackson Heights block turned into “The Towering Inferno” of 80th Street.
Flames two stories high rose from a Con Edison electrical cover in the early morning hours of Feb. 11, shocking even longtime residents used to feeder cable fires on 80th Street between 34th and 35th avenues.
According to 25th City Council District candidate Daniel Dromm, the fire was the fourth feeder cable fire to occur on the block in the last few years.
Daniel Dromm’s statement on the Con Ed fire on 80th Street in Jackson Heights on the morning of February 11, 2009.
“It has been reported to me that an underground Con Ed feeder cable caught fire last night causing an explosion to occur from beneath the sidewalk in front of 34-47 80th Street in Jackson Heights, Queens. One resident’s car was completely destroyed. In addition, many neighbors were awoken by the explosion and by the noise from the fire trucks that responded. The FDNY contacted Con Edison and the fire was brought under control a short while later. Con Ed worked on the problem for most of the day.
Upon hearing of the fire, I went to the site and took the above photographs. I was shocked by what I saw. Con Ed left the transformer covers ajar with wires clearly visible. They told residents that they would return on Tuesday to fix the wires.
This is clearly unacceptable. I contacted Council Member Eric Gioia’s office. He will be holding a press conference to immediately demand action from Con Ed at 10 AM on Thursday morning on the corner of 80th Street and 35th Avenue.
Once again, Con Edison has let the people down. This is at least the fourth time a feeder cable has caught on fire on 80th Street in the last few years.
What does it take for Con Edison to pay attention? Does someone have to die?
While I cannot be at the press conference tomorrow because I am a NYC public school teacher, my sentiments go out to the residents who have to deal with the fear that Con Ed will do absolutely nothing to improve the situation.
I agree with the residents that Con Ed must inspect all the surrounding cables and replace the old wires immediately. Additionally, Con Ed must fully pay to replace the resident’s car which was lost in the fire.
From Queens Chronicle:
Across the borough, Con Edison customers like Laura Cadorette are cutting back on electricity, buying energy efficient light bulbs and suffering through hot summer days without the air conditioner, all because of an expected 22 percent Con Ed rate increase over last summer’s rates. Only in Cadorette’s case, all that conserving didn’t translate into a lower, or even a modest increase in her electric bill. Like millions of New Yorkers, the Jackson Heights resident recently got a shocker in the mail — a $190.80 Con Ed bill for her 1,000-square-foot apartment, outfitted with $100 worth of new energy saving bulbs and with her 15,000 BTU air conditioner left silent, a relic of better times.
At a rally in Jackson Heights last week, Daniel Dromm and lawmakers joined area residents to rail against Con Ed, a utility with few friends among city ratepayers and co-op managers like Debbie DaGiau at section three of Southridge Co-op in Jackson Heights.
From Queens Ledger:
“How much is too much? That is the question being asked by community leaders regarding another increase in electricity costs that will be wreaking havoc on the finances of everyone who lives and works in New York City.
To combat the rate hikes, Daniel Dromm, Democratic district leader, and a number of elected officials have created several initiatives that will hopefully get utility prices down, including a postcard mailer and re-regulation of Consolidated Edison.
“I wanted to use the occasion to call attention to Con Ed’s fleecing of the public,” Dromm said. “Con Ed places shareholder profits over customer concerns and customer well-being.”