New Yorkers may have to pay more money for a reliable subway ride — but this time, it won’t be a fare hike.
Instead, it could be through higher utility bills, due to a rare state order forcing Con Ed to repair and inspect equipment on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s turf.
This work will cost Con Ed $202 million, which includes $25 million the utility had already planned to spend, according to a recent Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
Con Ed could recoup the costs through rate hikes, according to utility spokesman Michael Clendenin.
“It’s a back-door MTA tax on the general public,” John Kaehny, director of Reinvent Albany, a good-government group.
“Sure, the MTA needs money, but this is not the way to find it.”
Reinvent Albany and Straphangers Campaign attorney Gene Russianoff had called for an investigation into Con Ed’s work for NYC Transit after a Daily News investigation last month showed how transit staff and aides to Gov. Cuomo padded the number of delays that could be blamed on power. Cuomo and MTA officials, meanwhile, scapegoated the utility giant for subway meltdowns.
Cuomo last summer publicly said that 32,000 “power-related” delays in a year were the “largest single cluster of delays.”
To get that figure, transit staff was pressured by agency brass to expand the types of delays that could be defined as “power-related,” even if they had nothing to do with Con Edison’s delivery of power. This included delays from emergencies where power was cut to the tracks.
The real number of delays was about 8,000, with Con Ed at fault for nearly half of them, according to The News’ investigation.
Yet it’s Con Ed’s money fixing critical equipment in the subway.
NYC Transit President Andy Byford said he expressed his appreciation to Con Ed’s president during a recent meeting for the millions of dollars that Con Ed is pumping into the subway.
“I thanked him for the fact that they have put so much effort into this.” Byford said Tuesday.
The Public Service Commission — the utilities regulator that ordered Con Ed to repair MTA equipment — defended its decision, citing an April signal meltdown in Midtown and a May disruption in Brooklyn caused by fluctuations in its power supply.