Con Ed defends ad spend

NEW YORK: Faced with fierce criticism from a local politician, Con Edison is standing by its decision to run hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of advertisements after last summer's lengthy blackout in Queens.

NEW YORK: Faced with fierce criticism from a local politician, Con Edison is standing by its decision to run hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of advertisements after last summer's lengthy blackout in Queens.

State assemblyman Michael Gianaris blasted Con Ed in the local media last week for spending almost $600,000 on ads after the blackout, while limiting the restitution it paid to affected businesses to $7,000 per operation.

Con Ed spokesman Michael Clendenin said "the ads [are an] important way of communicating with customers," and characterized them as "one way of reaching out to the community."

He said some money was spent on informational ads in local papers containing key consumer information about the blackouts.

Gianaris said Con Ed also ran many normal "ads that lacked substance" about the blackout around the neighborhood.

"For them to say that's somehow communicating with people is just ridiculous," Gianaris said. "If they wanted to actually communicate an important message... they should have [taken] that money to help prevent local businesses from closing" as a result of blackout-related losses.

Clendenin acknowledged that Con Ed has to do "a lot more" to restore its reputation, but said it would not be increasing business compensation in response to the assemblyman's criticism.

"This ad campaign was a complete waste of their money," said Gianaris. "If I were a shareholder, I'd be upset."

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