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On page B7 of today's NY Times, Con Ed CEO Kevin Burke has a letter to the residents of northwest Queens. We've put the letter up in parts - has anyone else seen this ad in other city papers? Clearly not on a "Dear" basis, Burke tells residents he's aware of their hardship, acknowledges their patience and says that Con Ed will "strive to restore" residents' trust in the Con Ed. He also emphasizes the role Con Ed employees play, thanks various city agencies for their help, and says they will "find out what caused this extraordinary series of events in our system."

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The letter is not quite an apology to Queens - it's more a "hey, Con Ed does do good work everyday...so what if this blackout was horrible." This would be slightly more acceptable if the agency didn't have a history of problems. Of course, blame could also be directed at the NY State's chief utility regulator, who, as the NY Times reports, admits he doesn't "know how closely his agency scrutinized" Con Ed. For the love of - what's the point of being a utility regulator if you're not regulating the utility that powers up most of NY State's tax revenue? Luckily, Governor Pataki is watching...wait, no, he actually didn't ask for federal aid for the Queens blackout - just aid for farmland damage upstate in a letter he sent during the blackout. The NY Sun wonders if the city's power grid will be able to handle the upcoming steamy weather.

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Last night was the Power Up Queens dining event - $30 to eat at three restaurants. That's all well and good, but why plan an event two days or so after announcing it? There was no notice! And only 30 people showed up and why only at three restaurants? The city and state should implement some actual incentives to spend in Queens - no tax during certain weekends, free subway/bus rides, free museum admissions. And the lights went out again in Staten Island, but this time it was because of storm conditions and lightning.