100,000 residents of Queens, NY have gone without power for 6 days now. Apparently the company whose network failed and caused the blackout, Con Ed, is busily fighting off livid local officials who are basically responding to the livid 1/10 of a million constituents mentioned.
So needless to say that during this heat wave in North America, being in Queens in the middle of July without any A/C, fans, refrigeration, etc is probably pretty miserable. However, in this article a school teacher by the name of Lucio Iorfida of Astoria, responding to question concerning the response from Con Ed and in particular CEO Kevin Burke, says, “…he should give us at least half a year of free electricity.”
Now certainly we can forgive those like Iorfida for being angry and upset. But I think this simple “guy on the street” response shows an underlying current in our society which I find highly troubling.
Since when are you “entitled” to public utilities? True it is in the best interest of government officials and public utility companies to see to it that you have them as options. But since when did it become a basic human right to have electricity? It’s not like these people’s meters are still running and they’re paying for a service they aren’t receiving. No, they aren’t being charged a dime. There is no injustice, no misconduct on the part of Con Ed. There is a series of highly challenging technical problems in their grid and they are working to fix the problem.
But I suspect that Mr. Iorfida and many more like him have this notion that not only have they been “cheated” in some way by this blackout, but that they actually deserve reparations from the utility company for the inconvenience. Yes, reparations that by my calculation come to roughly a little over 30 TIMES the equal time lost without power. But that isn’t what I find most disturbing.
I find even more disturbing that Mr. Iorfida thinks that this proposition is not only “just”, but economically feasible. The problem stems from Mr. Iorfida thinking only of himself getting “free electricity” for 6 months, he has no concept, nor the ability to accurately project the actual cost to Con Ed (or any other utility company for that matter) of providing 6 months worth of flat out free electricity to all of Queens.
In the words of the new Red Stripe television spots…..”hooooray stupidity”.