Neither Con Ed Nor Metro-North Took Responsibility At Recent Hearing

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) was pushing Saturday for Con Edison to take responsibility for the power failure on the Metro-North New Haven line last month.

As WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported, Blumenthal’s demands followed a hearing where neither Metro-North nor Con Ed was willing to take the blame.

Metro-North estimated that it cost between $8 million and $12 million during the 12-day outage. Blumenthal recently held a hearing, during which Con Ed President Craig Ivey said Metro-North should bear sole responsibility because the rail line was conducting maintenance around the feeder that failed.

“Con Ed’s refusal to accept responsibility is absolutely unacceptable, which is why we’re asking the New York Public Service Commission to compel Con Ed to do the right thing,” Blumenthal said.

Blumenthal pointed out that the utility paid its shareholders a $700 million dividend and can more than afford the refund without impacting rate payers.

At the hearing, Ivey said a forensic analysis should be completed by early November to determine what caused an electric feeder cable to fail on Sept. 25, cutting power to part of the New Haven Line and forcing the railroad to reduce rail service by half. The disruption lasted 12 days.

Ivey told the subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security that Con Edison had “not seen failures on these feeders” and the outage was “something we’ve not seen in our history.”

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has said he wants answers as to why a backup power source was not in place.

“I hope this outage serves as a wake-up call to both Con Ed and the MTA when it comes to maintenance,” Malloy said earlier this month. “We need to look at why this happened and take steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

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(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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