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Queens Assemblyman Michael Gianaris accused Con Ed of placing its own PR needs above basic needs of customers. Gianaris says that the utility spent over a half million dollars to shore up its image after last summer's Queens blackout. He argues that money should have gone towards increasing reimbursements to businesses, whose reimbursements were capped at $7,000.

Con Ed's response? "Advertising in local papers . . . is an important means of communicating our commitment." The spokesperson also said that $14.3 million in claims were paid out. Well, yeah, $14.3 million sounds like a lot, but let's face it, there were over a hundred thousand people affected by the blackout which lasted over a week! (Con Ed says 39,000 were paid.) Sure, an ad in the NY Times from Con Ed CEO Kevin Burke is nice for investors, but we're pretty sure more people would prefer better service and bigger reimbursements.

As it happens, there's a big debate about where NYC will get its electricity. With scientists believing that "NYC's demand for energy will outstrip its supply in a few years," some believe the only answer is to have a transmission line run from Utica to the lower Hudson Valley. While people in Utica hate the idea and NYC's energy problems might become a crisis in the future, the AP story had some fun facts: NYC uses more energy than Chile and just slightly less than Switzerland.

And to recap, last week, the Public Service Commission, accepted part of the blame in last summer's blackout. You may remember that in January, the PSC issued a withering report criticizing Con Ed's failures during the blackout, but now the PSC has admitted to the State Assembly that it didn't really monitor Con Ed properly. People can blame who they want - we just want to make sure another blackout doesn't happen this summer.

Photograph of a store on Ditmars during last summer's Queens blackout by Jason DeCrow/AP