Monday, March 22, 2010

Replying to the PSC's BOL Rejection Letter

Below you will find a letter from Amy Kupferberg replying to the PSC's rejection letter to the BOL...

Date: March 22, 2010 10:36:54 AM EDT
To: jaclyn brilling
Subject: response to 3/17/10 letter

Madam Brilling,

As I am sure you could imagine, I am extremely disappointed to be forced to wake up to the encompassing sounds of the traffic on the Sprain Brook Parkway everyday. However, this morning I am even further disappointed to read your recent reply letter to Legislator Michael B. Kaplowitz. This extended community has worked very hard to get your attention and rehear Case 04-E-0822, but to know now that there is no hope is devastating for me. I have taken a lot of hits since the clear cutting, and I guess today, I know just how severely weakened I am. But I am not broken yet.

To state "tree related outages directly impact the health and safety of New Yorkers," seems too simplistic. We know from reading the U.S.-Canada Power System Outage Task Force: Final Report on Implementation of Recommendations that there were a number of causes for the 2003 blackout. The specifics to which I have previously written to you in great detail. We know that the inadequate back up systems, lack of protocol and coordination were really the issues in that blackout. And although there is mention to vegetation management within that report, there as far more emphasis on the modernization and implementation of the backup systems so that when two trees do make contact with Conductors the entire North East does not go black.

The clear cutting behind my house had nothing to do with electrical reliability. I also read the report prepared by Vantage Consulting issued on October 24, 2007, and if memory serves me the majority of the report clearly demonstrated Con Ed's lack of understanding of it's own internal short fallings when it comes to emergency response. In fact, if I remember correctly, it suggests that Con Ed did not and still may not have a structured master plan and strategy for reliability and emergency preparedness. The report calls for reorganization, training, new personnel when necessary and much more.

It troubles me when you state, "There is no doubt ROW vegetation management can sometimes result in negative public reaction due to aesthetic impacts. However, conflicting interests of electric reliability, aesthetics, and quality of life were considered by the Commission in Case 04-E-0822 when it established requirements for utility vegetation management." Firstly, your statement does not adequately embody the impact that we as homeowners are now forced to live with. My anger and sadness does not come exclusively from my inability to enjoy the simple beauty of nature. It comes from unavoidable and continuous traffic noise outside on my 3.5 acre farm property and inside my home with closed double paned windows. Keep in mind I pay 28K a year in property taxes. As well as, immediate decrease in property value, continued property damage, flooding, wind damage and forced to look at cars and electrical towers in every direction. Con Edison has redefined our neighborhoods and community and choose Westchester County to showcase their transmission lines. Within the PSC mandate, there must be some mention to residential areas.

I have a different history, however, let us for a moment purchasing a home for $850K and within a year or two the real estate market your home is valuated at $680K. Big Hit! ONE IN TEN HOMES CURRENTLY IN FORECLOSURE IN THE U.S. Then Con Ed comes in and cuts down every tree in it's sight, exposing your home to a major roadway that handles 93,000.00 cars a day. Now your home is valuated at 530K. What does this do to a community? See where I am going with this?

It is very hard to believe that any thought or care was taken to the environment or to home owners in this recent scorching. In fact, if my memory serves me when Con Ed filed the SEQL short form they stated NONE for environmental impact. We know Con Ed went way beyond their scope, they cut at least 350 trees down directly behind my home that were 150 ft away from towers and wires. They cut down trees of all species, age and health, obliterating an important habitat on the ROW. Their own deceptive vegetation management diagrams shows 120 ft, now they are talking about cutting out to 130 ft. And when it is all said and done they will cut everything they can and then continue to blame it on the poor communication with the the $75 a day tree worker rather than their own corporate plan.

And finally to respond to your statement “We are not aware of any material failure by Con Edison to comply with Commission requirements.” I am not sure what this means exactly, if you refer to paperwork issues, I ask you to consider this plea so important that it goes beyond procedural specifications. Con Ed already admits to “overly aggressive cutting” and the PSC knows from their onsite visits that Con Ed went beyond the scope and clear cut the ROW. I are not asking for anything radical, our community is asking that you rehear case 04-E-0822 and consider perhaps revising the standards more in line with NERC FAC-003-1 and FAC-003-2.

I leave you with this question...if the recent vegetation management plan worked so well, why were the areas that were most heavily impacted by the clear cutting, the hardest hit by both storms and one of the last to get power restored. If it worked so well, our area should have had no or little outages. Are we now to cut down every single tree in existence?

Most Respectfully,

Amy M Kupferberg
Hartsdale Ny 10530

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