SI Lawyer Sues Con Ed After Sandy Left Him Without Power for 17 Days

By James Fanelli on January 15, 2013 6:47am 

 Robert Prignoli is suing Con Edison for $500 million, accusing it of gross negligence after Hurricane Sandy.
Robert Prignoli is suing Con Edison for $500 million, accusing it of gross negligence after Hurricane Sandy.
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Courtesy of Robert Prignoli

ANNANDALE — A Staten Island lawyer whose home lost power for 17 days after Hurricane Sandy wants to pull the plug on Con Edison.

Robert Prignoli is suing the utility giant for at least $500 million and demands New York ban it from operating in the state. He also hopes to obtain certification as a class-action lawsuit to bring on other fed-up customers. 

The lawsuit, filed in Staten Island Supreme Court, accuses Con Ed of gross negligence in its preparation for the storm and its recovery effort.

"Con Edison does not deserve to be in the electric power supply business since it is inept at every level," Prignoli said in an affidavit.

Prignoli said the utility has been "chronically deficient" and repeatedly failed him as a customer since he moved into his tony Annandale home.

"Not one year has passed since I have lived at the premises since 2004 that I have not spent some part of my year in extended electric blackout conditions," he said in the affidavit.

"Just last year we lost power for Hurricane Irene for five consecutive days."

When Sandy hit on Oct. 29, Prignoli's home lost power for more than two weeks, forcing him and his family to stay with friends.

"It's an enormous amount of time," Prignoli told DNAinfo.com New York. "It's an extreme disruption to my family. We had to abandon the house."

During the ordeal, Con Ed gave six different dates for power restoration and continually gave different reasons for the delay, according to the affidavit.

"Every time I call up Con Edison I get a different story about why my electric power has not been restored," he said.

The prolonged outage had Prignoli scratching his head.

His neighborhood has no overhead lines — so downed trees didn't cause the outage, the affidavit said. Meanwhile, every home on his block except for his house and two others had power restored by Oct. 31.

Prignoli's home is categorized as Zone A for hurricane evacuations, but it didn't sustain any damage during the storm. The basement didn't flood, and the exterior was left intact.

 Robert Prignoli's Staten Island home didn't have power for 17 days after Hurricane Sandy hit.
Robert Prignoli's Staten Island home didn't have power for 17 days after Hurricane Sandy hit.
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Courtesy of Robert Prignoli

The affidavit says Con Ed still told him the city Department of Buildings had to inspect his home. After DOB inspectors certified the house on Nov. 5, the outage continued for another week, with the utility telling Prignoli he needed a letter from an electrician, the affidavit says.

Prignoli is also suing National Grid USA, Con Ed's parent company, and the New York State Public Service Commission. The lawsuit seeks to have the state revoke National Grid and Con Ed's licenses for operating any public utility.

A spokeswoman for Con Ed said the utility would file an answer to the complaint.

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