Sen. Boucher: It is ConEd’s Responsibility to Reimburse Commuters

October 31, 2013

Hartford, CT – State Senator Toni Boucher (R-Wilton), ranking member of the Transportation Committee of the General Assembly, released the following statement today re: ConEd’s refusal to reimburse commuters who were affected by the September 25 power outage in Mt. Vernon that shutdown Metro-North for nearly two weeks.

“It is quite frustrating to hear ConEd officials decline to assume any monetary responsibility for the September power failure at their substation in New York. The feeder cable at the center of the power outage was past its lifespan by six years. In addition, it has been widely reported that ConEd refused to set up a secondary back-up system knowing full well a traditional back-up energy source was off- line for maintenance.

“It is unfortunate that ConEd officials think giving credits to commuters is “unfair.” What is truly unfair is that customers were disrupted for 12 days and had to find alternate means of transportation into New York City so they could work and earn a living. Their bills still had to get paid. Their lives did not stop because of the power company’s failure to plan properly.

“To put the responsibility on Metro-North- which has allowed commuters to take a credit for lost trips is – unfortunate. That ticket credit will come at a cost. It will result in higher commuter fees and will come out of Connecticut’s transportation budget. In the end, consumers will pay for ConEd’s poor performance.

“This money should not come out of the pockets of consumers. Instead, ConEd should take responsibility by reimbursing those who have been affected.

“Going forward, infrastructure investments on the rail line must be a top priority of our federal and state governments. The negative economic impact to commuters, communities and our state is unacceptable. This rail line is an economic driver for our state and the New England corridor, and policy makers must have a sense of urgency when making sound decisions about infrastructure, redundant power sources and how we fund these transportation entities.”