Thanks to the efforts of the Juniper Park Civic Association, Consolidated Edison's work on hundreds of utility light poles was under question by the City of New York particularly by the Department of Transportation. The story broke on a complaint from the JPCA to Channel 9's (UPN) "I" Team.
On November 3rd, Channel 9 aired the story after the Juniper Park Civic complained of dozens of lightpoles in the Middle Village & Maspeth area that had frayed and exposed wiring. Joe Cullum, an investigative reporter for Channel 9, contacted DOT who in turn conducted their own investigation. DOT found hundreds of light poles with what they called "extremely hazardous (wiring) that can cause electrocution."
In a written statement, Con Ed said the work was temporary and all Con Ed work on light poles was left in a "safe and secure position."
But the DOT's investigation found that dozens of sites have been left in a hazardous condition for as many as 6 years.
Channel 9 conducted their own investigating of dozens of poles around Juniper Valley Park, as well as several sites in the Bronx. They found hundreds of poles had exposed wiring that could be fatal if touched.
Con Ed then blamed the city for delays in giving permits to open streets to fix the problem. But Tony Fasulo of the Department of Transportation disputed Con Edison's claim.
"Con Edison has permit access that can be turned around in 2 days," said Fasulo.
Joe Cullum interviewed Bob Holden, president of the Juniper Park Civic Association who showed the reporter several exposed wires around P.S. 49 and Juniper Valley Park. Recently Holden had witnessed teenagers hanging and swinging on an exposed wire near the park when it snapped, sending sparks everywhere. The explosion then knocked out power to the adjacent block.
"It is criminal and negligent to leave these light poles in this dangerous and hazardous condition, said Holden. He called for an investigation of Con Edison's work procedures by the City of New York.
CON ED'S STATEMENT TO JUNIPER CIVIC
Con Edison has intensified its efforts to address street lights that are out of service, and has dispatched additional crews throughout the city to correct potential problems in street lights that had previously been temporarily repaired. In addition to the extra manpower assigned to this effort, the company has added another $1 million to its existing $6 million annual budget allocated for street-light work.
At any given moment, less than one percent of the city's street lights are without service. While this amount represents a very small fraction of the total number of lights, we understand the essential role street lighting plays in ensuring public safety and we are working diligently toward a goal of permanently repairing each of those out-of-service lights as quickly as possible. We have been working closely with the appropriate city agencies to expedite repair work and we will continue to work together to find ways to further streamline the process.