We’d like to think that City Councilman Bob Holden of Middle Village sparked a change in Con Edison’s practices with his demand that the utility stop “cold-knocking” on people’s doors to have contractors install smart meters.
As Holden pointed out in a letter and subsequent press release last week, having contractors arrive unannounced is concerning, especially for seniors. Plenty of scammers and thieves pretend to be utility workers to gain access to older people’s homes. And sometimes it gets even worse; it’s a home invasion. It was less than two weeks ago that a Bronx man was beaten to death by someone pretending to be some kind of utility worker, and in July two armed men posed as phone company employees to get inside a Brooklyn home, where they beat the resident and stole $80,000 in cash.
So you don’t want to let a utility worker into your home without full confirmation of who he is. And it would be a lot better if they showed up only with appointments, though we understand it may not be possible every time.
Con Ed says it does its best to make arrangements ahead of time. And Holden said after meeting with the utility that it listened to him and his neighbors and is “doing the right thing.” Let’s hope that means less cold-knocking and less worry whether that the stranger at your door belongs there.