NY, Albany - Con Edison Seeks Deal on Cost of Plant Failure

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Title: Con Edison Seeks Deal on Cost of Plant Failure

Wednesday, May 3, 2000

By MICHAEL GORMLEY The Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Consolidated Edison indicated Tuesday that it wants to discuss a settlement over whether it should pass through to ratepayers extra costs caused by an outage at its Indian Point 2 nuclear power plant.

Indian Point was knocked off line Feb. 15, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Pataki administration have indicated that the utility should have taken more precautions or predicted the outage. A minute amount of radioactive steam was released when the plant went out.

Some state legislators have filed a "prudency" petition with the state Public Service Commission seeking to block Con Ed from passing through the outage costs to ratepayers.

"The company has just today begun discussions with the Public Service Commission seeking a positive resolution on the issue of pass-along costs," said Con Ed spokesman Joseph Petta. He said it would be inappropriate for Con Ed to say more at this early stage of talks.

State Administrative Law Judge Jeffrey Stockholm on Tuesday set Oct. 16 as the tentative deadline for Con Ed to show that its actions leading to the radioactive leak were prudent.

Assemblyman Richard Brodsky of Westchester County fought a request by Con Ed on Tuesday to delay the discovery process while settlement negotiations begin. The hearing judge rejected Con Ed's request.

Now Brodsky and other legislators can force the utility to release internal documents on the maintenance and condition of generators at the Indian Point 2 plant.

Brodsky, whose district is part of Con Ed's service area, said full disclosure is needed to make sure ratepayers are protected and compensated.

"We want the truth to come out and the money to follow the truth," he said.

Manhattan Assemblyman Adriano Espaillat said Con Ed "must put public safety over profits." Last summer, hundreds of thousands of Con Edison customers in New York City and Westchester County lost electricity during a heat wave. Service was lost July 6 for 18 hours in Espaillat's district of Washington Heights and upper Manhattan.

Con Ed was asked in Tuesday's PSC meeting whether it would suspend the collection of $600,000 a day from ratepayers to buy electricity to replace that generated by Indian Point 2, which remains off line. It refused, Brodsky said. The payments come from $3-a-month charges to customers.

An official at Con Ed did not immediately answer a request for comment.

Copyright ) 2000 Bergen Record Corp. http://www.bergen.com/region/nuke03200005038.htm


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