New York City Council member Daniel Garodnick announced City Hall hearings on the explosion were set for August 7. The city council also held hearings after the 2006 Queens blackout where Con Edison C.E.O. Kevin Burke was subjected to a grueling round of questioning by local lawmakers. The New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and other city lawmakers said they intended to ask tough questions of the utilility at the hearings, and would be reevaluating Con Edison's monopoly status, indicating that they have lost confidence in the utility company.
At the hearing, Burke did not appear, and sent William Longhi, his senior vice president for central operations to testify instead, angering the council. Longhi provided little additional information pending completion of the investigation, sparking a heated exchange with Quinn. Councilman Leroy Comrie, the chairman of the Consumer Affairs Committee, proposed taking over Con Edison, or breaking it up and deregulating it.
New York State Assemblyman Michael N. Gianaris, a Democrat whose district in the Astoria section of Queens was affected by the 2006 blackout, said Con Edison should be forced to compete for the right to manage the city's power infrastructure and should be subject to annual audits by the New York Public Service Commission.
On December 27, 2007, in response to the report by the utility, New York City Councilman Eric Gioia criticized the company for identifying the city as potentially responsible for the blast in an October court filing laying the groundwork for a possible future lawsuit. That notice of claim said city sewers, pipes and drains could have leaked cold water onto the hot steam pipe. Gioa's statement said, "they'll do anything they can to deflect blame and avoid taking responsibility, but now this report shows that Con Ed's poor maintenance contributed to this deadly explosion."
In Boston, Massachusetts, which has a 22-mile (35 km) network of steam distribution pipes operated by Trigen Energy Boston, Mayor Thomas Menino used the event in New York to push for proposed state legislation regulating commercial steam distribution systems that was progressing slowly. A young boy was severely burned two months earlier by a burst steam pipe in that city.
In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which has a network of more than 30 miles (48 km) of steam pipes operated by Trigen-Philadelphia, there has not been a serious incident in that city in the past 18 years—in 1989, a steam explosion at 15th and Wood Streets sent debris into the air damaging some cars. In the wake of the New York event, present and past city officials credited the utility for the extended period of safe operations.
Read more about this topic: 2007 New York City Steam Explosion
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