Sen. Richard Blumenthal holds hearing on Metro-North service outage

Federal officials held a hearing in Bridgeport Monday on the power outage that disrupted Metro-North service for two weeks last month. Sen. Richard Blumenthal chaired

BRIDGEPORT - Federal officials held a hearing in Bridgeport Monday on the power outage that disrupted Metro-North service for two weeks last month.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal chaired the congressional hearing on the MTA train failures. He began today's hearing by saying he was dismayed and outraged by the 12 days during which the New Haven Line was greatly affected.

Rep. Elizabeth Esty said the disruption was completely unacceptable and cost the state's economy an estimated $62 million.

Other state officials also spoke at length about the difficulties their constituents faced without a fully functional train line.

Con Edison president Craig Ivey explained that Metro-North had asked his company to take out one of the electrical feeders that powered the New Haven Line while the utility worked on the Metro-North substation in Mount Vernon.

However, Ivey said that during Con Ed's work to shut down that line, the feeder that was still in-service failed when the shutdown area was frozen to protect the oil-filled pipes that house the feeders.

Blumenthal asked whether Con Ed planned to reimburse Metro-North for the mishap. Ivey said since the MTA asked to have the feeder line shut down, his company should not be held liable.

Con Edison says its construction of a temporary substation in Harrison during the outage has already cost the utility $4 million. Metro-North officials say the debacle put them in the hole between $8 million and $12 million.

The presidents of Metro-North and Con Edison say they are still conducting a full investigation to try and prevent a similar outage in the future. 

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