The president of Consolidated Edison Co. received a warm reception at York College in Jamaica last Friday, despite the company’s proposed rate hike, which worries borough residents, and the memory of last summer’s blackout still fresh in people’s minds.
Kevin Burke addressed a room of business executives, local leaders and college students on the company’s efforts to use energy more cleanly and efficiently.
“The cleanest way to generate energy is not to use it, not to need it,” he said. He noted that the utility is working to cut energy use by 200 metric tons a year by 2015, and encouraged people to buy wind and solar power through Con Edison’s “GreenPower” options.
Burke also touted the benefits of compact fluorescent bulbs, which use less than a quarter of the electricity of a traditional incandescent bulb.
He fielded several questions, including one from Borough President Helen Marshall about how to understand her electric bill, and another from a York College student on how the company is preparing for the city’s growth.
Burke said the utility is investing $2 billion in utility line and substation improvements.
After the lecture, Burke was optimistic when asked about reversing negative public perception of Con Edison.
“It was an unusual series of events,” he said of last summer’s blackout in Western Queens, adding that Con Edison kept the power on this past summer. He said it will regain the public’s trust by slowly rebuilding a good record of reliability.