Attorney General And Con Edison Take Further Steps To Ensure That Life Sustaining Equipment For Consumers Is Maintained

New York State Attorney General Spitzer and Consolidated Edison (Con Edison) today announced that Con Edison is enhancing its program for those customers with special health-related needs for electric service. Con Edison's voluntary steps are the product of discussions initiated by the Attorney General in June 2003 to prepare for potential power shortages during the summer.

In keeping with state law, Con Edison maintains lists of customers using life-sustaining equipment such as respirators, kidney dialysis machines or baby sleep apnea monitors, as well as other customers with serious medical hardships who are dependent on electric service. In case of an electrical outage or emergency threatening electric service, the company contacts listed customers that may be affected. Con Edison also notifies all customers on its lists from time to time about the need to plan for a possible electrical outage. Working with the Attorney General, Con Edison has taken additional steps to build on its outreach efforts for those customers.

New York State law requires that all utilities compile lists of their life support and serious medical hardship customers, and to establish procedures for contacting them within 24 hours in case of an electrical outage. The law also requires the utilities to respond to the needs of life support customers during an electrical emergency, and procedures for contacting other customers with serious medical hardships who are dependent on electrical service.

"Con Edison is working to identify the thousands of New Yorkers whose dependence upon electrical power is most critical," said Spitzer. "With this additional information, the company will be able to better serve these customers in the case of a power outage."

"During emergencies, people who we know rely on special life sustaining equipment and may be affected by the emergency are contacted to ensure they are getting the proper attention they need," said Marilyn Caselli, vice president of Customer Operations for Con Edison. "Working with the Attorney General’s office and health agencies in New York City and Westchester County, we have enhanced that outreach by taking extra steps to identify these customers in our service area."

Con Edison has taken the following steps to identify its customers with special health-related need for electric service: