I’m madder than a pack of negative ions over the way Con Edison treats some of the customers it’s had for more than two decades!
Look, you all know the Screecher is never happy when public utilities — with whom some of us trust our lives — treat the customers who grant them the privilege of providing vital services like electric, gas and, of course, cable television, like dirt. So when I hear that a behemoth like Con Edison isn’t playing nice, I shout it from the hilltops (or at least the roof of the Harway Terrace).
I’ve got a pal who’s had a tough time with Con Ed since the hurricane hit, and he told his horror story to me so I can share it with you. So here goes:
To make a long story endless, Con Ed had to come to his house to fix a frayed wire that was about to fall from the house in the wake of Hurricane Irene, way back in the summer. Well, it took workers a few weeks to get there, and when they finally did, some guy drilled a post into my buddy’s roof to connect the new wire. Of course, this was against protocol, and would certainly cause a leak into the next time it rained.
My pal called Con Ed, expecting them to send someone right over to fix the problem its workers caused. But Con Ed refused to, demanding that he bring in a contractor to do the job. Don’t worry, the reps at Con Ed told him, the company will pay him back for the work, because the damage was its fault.
Against his better judgement, he got three estimates, and two of them were over a $1,000. He settled on a guy that said he would do the whole job — patch the roof and re-attach the electric — for $250. A bargain, right?
He laid out the cash, and filled out all the paperwork Con Ed required to get his money back. But you know what he got? You guessed it, bupkis!
Sure, every time he calls Con Ed he wastes about 45 minutes on the phone, and is promised his money is coming. But it never comes.
So what did he do to solve the problem? You guessed it again! He took it out of his bill. So now, whenever he gets a bill, he minuses the $250 Con Ed owes him, and pays the balance. Now you know and I know that makes perfect sense, because he’s already laid out the cash, and I don’t need to tell you that money doesn’t grow on trees.
Con Ed’s answer to this? Well, not so nice. Instead of simply sending him the check or — heaven forbid — crediting his account, he keeps getting angry letters saying his power is going to be shut off.
All because he hasn’t paid the $250 Con Ed owes him! How do you like that?
If you ask me, things should never have gotten this far. Con Ed should have just fixed the problem itself. Then it wouldn’t be in this mess. His next step is to call the Public Service Commission which should get some action.
Speaking of public service, now’s the point in the column where I make a left turn out of know where and talk about a true humanitarian, Eddie Mark.
Look, you all know that Eddie is the chairman of Community Board 13 in Coney Island, and that he works hard to bring all our neighborhoods together as one community. He’s the guy who organized a Conversational Classroom on the Boardwalk with students in the summertime, and he’s the one who brings civic leaders to a Breakfast Network meeting every year to get them to understand what is happening in the neighborhoods. He even brings his community board meetings to different locations to make sure residents have one close to their houses.
Eddie volunteers at Kaiser Park, assists the 60th Precinct Community Council, helps out with Shorefront Young Democrats with recruitment drives, and volunteers as a member of CB13 Community Emergency Response Team. On top of that, he volunteers at community events such as Salt and Sea Mission’s Thanksgiving Dinners, Coney Island Cleanups, and Coney Island generation Gap Soapbox Derby Race.
Look, Eddie’s worked at Astella Development as a housing specialist, he helped organize homeowners associations, community and commercial events, and help publish Astella’s newsletter.
A tireless worker in the community since 1989, he realized that Coney Island was the place to be and purchased a house on West 19th Street in 1995.
Best of all, Eddie Mark has not missed a Bensonhurst West End Community Council meeting — my meetings — since we moved our meeting place to Harway Terrace located in Community Board 13.
So join us at the El Caribe on March 22, when we honor Eddie Mark as Humanitarian of the Year — and his equally distinguished and deserving co-honorees. E-mail me at Diegovega@aol.com for reservation information.
Screech at you next week!
Carmine Santa Maria's column appears every Sunday on BrooklynPaper.com whether you like it or not.