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Con Ed To Seek Rate Increase Despite Criticism Of Post-Sandy Response

(credit: CBS 2)

(credit: CBS 2)

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Superstorm Sandy

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Con Edison has been harshly criticized for its post-Superstorm Sandy response, but the utility company says that won’t keep it from continuing to seek a rate increase.

Thousands of Con Ed customers are still cold and without power — 11 days after Sandy hit.

“I’m very sorry about what happened, very sorry,” CEO Kevin Burke said.

EXTRA: See Latest Outage Numbers

But Burke said despite the long-winded and widespread outages due to the double-punch of Sandy and the nor’easter, the company will still go ahead with a petition to the Public Service Commission to raise rates, CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown reported.

The company announced plans for price hikes in September for gas, electric and steam service.

“We’ve been investing in our system and part of the reason in general, excluding such a major storm as this, is the system is very reliable. We’re going to continue to make those investments and we’re going to continue to, as appropriate, apply for increases,” Burke said.

Word of a rate increase is frustrating and even infuriating for some customers who say they’ve been left in the dark for days by Con Ed.

“I am not happy. I’m not happy at all,” said Chappaqua resident Lloyd Highbloom. “This is beyond the beyond.”

“I think it’s outrageous considering what people have gone through,” said Tribeca resident Cheryl Fish.

“We’re already outraged and we don’t need any more increases,” said Union Square resident Richard Faber, who spent five days without power and another three without heat. “I hope it doesn’t go through.”

On Thursday, an angry Gov. Andrew Cuomo ripped the utility companies as being unprepared and badly managed. Early Friday, there were still more than 288,000 outages across New York.

“It’s unacceptable the longer it goes on because the longer it goes on, people’s suffering is worse,” he said.

The utility will make its case to the state Public Service Commission this month to approve rate hikes. If approved, the increases would take effect in October 2013.

The company isn’t saying how much they’re planning to raise rates.

What are you thoughts on Con Ed seeking a rate increase?