UNDER PRESSURE Con Ed's scene in Manhattan (Photo: Getty Images)
In New York, there's no bigger power girl than Con Edison. A publicly traded utility, it feels at times like an unwieldy monopoly holding all New Yorkers in the palm of its electric hand. Now, after Wednesday's asbestos-y transformer blast (7/18/07, never forget!), customers certainly have a reason to cry foul over a company long plagued with problems.
Just today, for example, news broke that Con Ed has been aware of the need to repair leaks at the steam pipe blast site on Lexington Avenue and 41st Street since December, signing at least three permits to prevent a potential steam main break. Whoops! And then there was the little snafu of the Queens Blackout last year, the dogs (and dog owners) getting fatally electrocuted on the street, and of course, the bitsy little problem of a woman falling 12-feet through a Con Ed metal grate and nearly impaling herself on a transformer.
At some point "shit happens" doesn't quite cover it. Not even for New Yorkers. And this latest Midtown geyser incident has left a permanent blemish on Con Ed's image. Wisely, the company is already represented by PR powerhouse Dan Klores, but we enlisted the help of the straight-shooting maverick, Ronn Torossian of New York's 5WPR, who, while more used to dealing with celebrity drama, was just as incensed about this week's pipe meltdown as the average steaming mad Grand Central commuter.
Con Edison, you're in the PR/ER!