We all realize that on occasion there will be losses of power due to storms, but what we all too frequently go through are outages that are longer than any person should have to endure.

Here are some facts about Con Edison, a "public utility”:

Con Edison took in last year over $12 billion and had a gross profit of $2.6 billion. There are approximately 335 million shares of Con Edison stock outstanding. Con Ed pays out dividends to their stockholders as of today 4.15 percent of the value of each share of stock, which is a large percentage compared to most companies. That percentage translates to $3.06 per share.

If Con Edison were to reduce their dividend by 1 cent, they would have $3.3 million to reinvest in their infrastructure; if they reduced their dividend by $1 they would have $330 million to invest. These monies would not require any cost increases to their millions of customers and they would be able to use this money to prevent these long and drawn-out outages. The question is: Who are they responsible to — their shareholders or their customers?

If you ask the people of Westchester County, the overwhelming response would be their customers. Perhaps some thought has to be given by the state government to Con Edison's status in the future.

Robert Apter


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