You are reading

Tonight: Meeting to Discuss Public Ownership of New York Power Grid

Ravenswood Generating Station in Long Island City, viewed from Roosevelt Island (Wikimedia Commons)

March 5, 2020 By Michael Dorgan

State Senator Michael Gianaris, Councilman Costa Constantinides and Assemblyman Ron Kim will speak at a town hall tonight in Astoria centered on transferring corporate utilities like Con Edison into public ownership.

The event is being organized by NYC Democratic Socialists of America and will take place at HANAC George Douris Tower, located at 2740 Hoyt Ave. S from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. March 5. Several other community activist groups will take part and Assemblyman Brian Barnwell will also be in attendance.

The meeting forms part of NYC-DSA’s campaign called “Public Power NYC” which aims to make energy more affordable and comes in response to increased price hikes and several blackouts caused by the city’s main energy supplier Con Edison. The Con Ed service is unreliable, unsafe, and is accelerating the climate crisis, campaigners claim.

The event will discuss three bills currently in the state legislature that would bring about the public ownership of NYC energy production and its distribution. Two of the bills deal with expanding the New York Power Authority and requiring all state-owned and municipal properties to use renewable energy.

The third bill calls for the creation of a public utility that would take over Con Ed, National Grid, and Central Hudson G&E either through purchase or, if needed, eminent domain. Proponents say that this would guarantee rates lower than what these providers currently charge.

This is the only way to rein in companies like Con Ed, proponents say, who claim that the energy companies continue to increase profits while letting their infrastructure deteriorate. They also argue that the companies are resisting the transition to renewable energy.

“We need publicly owned and democratically controlled utilities that will rapidly build wind and solar energy, respect our right to heat and electricity and create thousands of good, union jobs,” said Andrea Guinn, from NYC Democratic Socialists of America.

In addition, organizers will discuss the Green New Deal and update attendees on other Public Power NYC town halls held in Brooklyn and the Bronx recently.

Details about the event can be found here.

email the author: [email protected]

31 Comments

Click for Comments 
ricky

Our municipal water system is one of the best in the world, and is completely government run.

Public utilities exist across the United States, and are proven to provide better service at lower prices than private ones.

Imagine if we were paying the same rates we currently do under Con Ed, but instead of a billion dollars being siphoned off every year for shareholders, that money was reinvested in the infrastructure upgrades that Con Ed gets rate case increases for, but has been caught multiple times not doing?

3
1
Reply
ASensibleMan

“Renewable” energy adds significantly to the cost of your ConEd bill, but it lets Cuomo and other well-off Liberals virtue signal, thank you so much. New York’s rather unique requirements and aging infrastructure add to the cost as well. There’s a lot of stupid comments above, so this article might help the ignorance. Turning it over to public ownership is only going to make the graft and featherbedding 100x worse. The last thing it will do is lower prices.

6
64
Reply
Never left Astoria

Always treat utilities with caution. They’re crooked. My father did work on a beach house at the shore and broke the house into two separate units with their own water account. The water Co. put an extra meter in in error. 3 meters for 2 houses. We called up and took over a year to resolve. The erroneous meter strangely showed water usage and every month was different. I inquired and nobody could provide an explanation. Crooks

3
3
Reply
Anonymous

1) Coned is already publicly owned whose stock is traded on a stock exchange.
2) What these communists alluding to is for government to take over Coned into its own hands. Think of Venezuela’s government taking over country’s oil production.
3) #2 is not a good idea since any governmentally run business turns into a disaster money waste pit. Best example is MTA. Also the taxes will have to go up for this supposed utility to function because if you don’t pay it through fees you will have to pay it through taxes. You can argue that if profit is taken out of the equation this will result in the savings to consumers but I doubt elimination of profit will result in more savings than the waste and abuse that the government always creates.

15
4
Reply
David

Anonymous- Government works fine, just look at Sweden, Germany, Australia, Canada Netherlands etc. in America Republicans break the government and (or) financially starve it and turnaround and tell their gullible followers the government is broken and doesn’t work. Tax payer money paid for and built just about all utilities (water, electric, cable, gas etc.). There are many forms of socialistic financial models around the world as there are capitalistic models as well.

3
13
Reply
Anonymous

Here we have American government, which doesn’t employ the smartest people. No talented individual in America dreams of working for government after graduating college or while dropping out of college (which arguably creates more successful people, if they drop out for the right reasons). What you communists and socialists want is beyond of what any talented person is dreaming of. You hoping that talented people will work for you while you vote to take a large piece of what tented people earned for your own good. US has the largest economy in the world not because of government but because of private enterprise. Take that away and you won’t have the 17 trillion dollar GDP anymore and we’ll all be equal in being poor. Past experience with other countries confirms this.

13
1
Reply
David

Anonymous-No wonder you’re posting anonymously, your posts are absurd. Of course there are talented people in Government, your assertion otherwise is utterly ridiculous. People go into public service ( the gov’t) for the public good and out of a sense of patriotism, duty and the general welfare of the public. Some also go in to exploit the gov’t to their advantage. You’re terribly idealistic and ridiculously gullible. Government sets the laws and policies that allow free enterprise to flourish. Please take a history course. You obviously get your news from an entertainment network and are gullible enough to believe you’re being informed but in reality you’re deliberately being misinformed and incited by a propaganda outlet within this so called entertainment outlet whose main shareholder is a Saudi Prince.

3
8
Reply
Anonymous

David, again, you are delusional. I have not heard from any of my classmates that they wanted to work for government. What for? To work just to check boxes with people whose only goal in life is to earn government pension?To work for pension that will not be there by the time you retire? because almost every pension today underfunded. I had a chance to work briefly in couple of governmental entities while in college and I have not met any ambitious people there. But you wouldn’t know because you have nothing to compare to as you seem like the one working for the government. Good luck my friend living off others.

5
1
Stephanie

David, prove that YOU are NOT posting anonymously. Provide links to your LinkedIn and facebook profiles to confirm that DAVID is indeed your REAL name.

3
1
Never left Astoria

You do know after the black out of 2005 Con Ed was exposed cooking the books, using multiple sets of books and caught fraudulently charging customers in Queens for infrastructure updates and expansion that was never performed. Con Ed has a very long history of corrupt and negligent behavior and activity. Strange how market enthusiasts never mention companies like Enron, Bear Sterns, Lehman Brothers or World Com when speaking of market efficiency. Why do they always seem to fall back on Venezuela when they speak of socialism in failing terms when the old Soviet Union, Cuba and the Eastern Block were just as large in proportion in their failure. So many people post with too much opinion and very short on facts and details, just the passing of Fox propaganda and a poor attempt at that.

2
6
Reply
Scary stuff

Eminent domain takeover of industry by government? There are so many examples in history that should raise a red flag. Before the Venezuelan government took over electric generation in the 70s the country had the highest growth rate and lowest inequality in Latin America. Today they enjoy nationwide blackouts and power rationing thanks to government ineptitude and corruption. It’s easy to understand frustration with ConEd and the need to go renewable and lower utility bills… but there has to be a more reasonable way to approach these issues.

13
2
Reply
David

Scary stuff AKA Anonymous- If you’re so sure of your position why do you hide behind different posting handles and an attempt to deceive people posting here?

Reply
Anonymous

David, you are delusional. You think only I would be disturbed by this proposal? We still live in a capitalist country, you know. Why I hide behind “Anonymous?” My family went through political repressions in one of the countries whose political system you might adore (which crumbled under its own weight). And I know that god forbid this happens there there will be an equivalent of GULAGs. Because the only way for this kind of system to work is to shut people like me. I fear for my future if Bernie is elected. Thank you very much.

12
1
Reply
Anonymous

Anonymous- You obviously have nothing worth confiscating if you’re sitting here posting nonsense to a community blog on the day of the biggest equity sell off in history.

2
6
Reply
Still scared

Sorry David but more than one person disagrees with you. There is no grand conspiracy to deceive people. Just multiple people who understand that big government is dangerous. We have the freedom to innovate in this country. We can lead a green energy revolution through free market competition. Someone needs to figure out how to store wind and solar more efficiently and start a business to compete with ConEd, which has a monopoly right now. That is the issue that needs to be addressed. Government takeover stunts innovation and leads to obsolete services we’re forced to pay for via higher taxes. It is a dead end for the green energy revolution.

10
1
Reply
David

Con Ed purchases stored energy from multiple sources. Companies like Sun Power Corp. , Siemens, Vestas, General Electro Nextra Energy, Berkshire Hathaway Energy and Avangrid Renewables, just to name a few Renewable energy companies with capacity.,These companies have already figured out how to store wind and solar energy effectively and efficiently. Where have you been?

2
2
Reply
Still scared

There is not enough capacity to support our own clean energy goals right now. Transmission and storage are huge issues if we are really going to switch to renewable energy on a large scale. ConEd is buying small drops to add to a very big bucket. But I’m glad you listed off some dynamic corporations that are leading this revolution. They would not exist if we had the big government takeover of industry that people seem so giddy about around here.

Ditmars Billy

Still Scared- Life’s not a popularity contest no matter what Faux News tells you.

3
4
Reply
jenastoriat

My bill has doubled in just a few years. Im really conscious about conserving, but most of the rate hikes are in fees like so-called delivery costs. At some point I may just not be able to pay this bill and it is very worrisome. The only solution is to transfer Conned to the people and cut out the corp profiteers.

6
20
Reply
Anonymous

Who are those people who will be owning it? By the same token do I own MTA? Can I exert any influence over how MTA operates and how much it spends and on what? How much gets wasted… Every train delay will be the outage in this proposed “public” ownership. There is nothing public in government owning things. You really think people own MTA? If you think they are then you might right actually be right because that’s why it can’t function properly because there is no one to take ownership, unlike in a private business…

Reply
gag

Allowing private companies exclusive access to essential utilities like this is complete theft.

If this infrastructure was publicly owned and managed not only would it provide better jobs but would reduce prices for NY residents.

It’s a win-win.

6
18
Reply
Hell Gate Harry

Very true.
Con Edison is essentially a scandalous profiteering monopoly.

2
7
Reply
Anonymous

Hmmm considering that we have a questionable graduation rate from our public schools and our public housing is horribly run and fraught with mismanagement, so I really want democratic socialists in charge of any critical infrastructure??! Nope, this is stupid and so is giannaris.

7
3
Reply
Get real

Yeah, because water mains aren’t exploding every other day, flooding streets and destroying cars and businesses.

Reply
Rick Ro$$

How can you make utilities compete? Everyone would have to lay their own power cables. This is a huge investment. Economics 101.

Reply
Rachel C.

I would very much like to attend, however, I cannot, as the circumstances of covid-19 loom. Anyway, with only using our (1bdrm apt) utilities sparingly, we still get upwards of $300 bills, of which we can BARELY afford. It’s INSANE! Please help us! ConEd is taking pure advantage of the people and it’s not fair.

5
12
Reply
Chris B

Check your bill. More often than not they can’t access the meter to get a real reading so they “estimate usage” which is always higher than anyone would EVER use. If you or your super can access the meter take your own readings then call ConEd to challenge and miraculously your bill will plummet to reality! (you may even get a refund for the past billing periods)

12
3
Reply

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Op-Ed: This Year’s State Budget Must Prioritize Climate, Jobs, and Justice for New York

Op-Ed, Jan. 30, By Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas

In a time of rampant economic inequality and environmental injustice, it is easy to feel defeated.  Here in Queens and across New York State, however, communities are organizing for a better future. New Yorkers from different backgrounds and with different lived experiences are proving that we can build community, organize, and create a future that reflects our shared values.