Cuomo: 'No Ratepayer Should Pay A Single Penny For Bonuses'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Four top Con Edison executives have returned $614,400 in bonuses after Gov. Andrew Cuomo called for an investigation into why they were rewarded following what he has called woeful performance by utilities during superstorm Sandy.

In a letter to Con Ed chairman and CEO Kevin Burke on the six month anniversary of superstorm Sandy on Monday, Cuomo said “we witnessed a complete failure by many of our state’s utilities to provide adequate service to the ratepayers they serve.”

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Cuomo added that Moreland Commission, which he established following Sandy, has not yet determined the adequacy of Con Ed’s performance during the storm.

Burke quickly said he was returning the $314,000 bonus he was awarded.

“After careful consideration, I have decided to return the special bonus granted by our compensation committee, and funded by shareholders, for handling very challenging events in 2012. I continue to commend the work of all of our employees,” Burke said in a statement on Tuesday.

A Con Ed spokesman says Tuesday the other executives also returned the bonuses.

EXTRA: Read Gov. Cuomo’s Letter To Kevin Burke (pdf)

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Downtown Manhattan was left completely in the dark for days after Sandy hit, along with Con Ed customers in other boroughs and the suburbs. Some customers were left without heat or lights for weeks.

“In light of the ongoing Moreland Commission investigation into utility performance in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, I have asked Con Edison to freeze the remaining executive bonuses until the Public Service Commission [PSC] review is complete. I also urge Con Ed to fully cooperate with the Public Service Commission’s review so we can ensure ratepayers are protected,” Cuomo said in a statement on Tuesday.

“This administration is fully committed to protecting ratepayers, especially after the utilities’ lackluster performance before, during, and after Superstorm Sandy. No ratepayer should pay a single penny for bonuses given to senior utility executives, especially for bonuses awarded for their performance during Sandy. I anticipate Con Ed will fully cooperate with the PSC review,” the governor added.

The Moreland Commission was set up in November to look into the storm preparation and management of the utility companies impacted by Sandy.

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