MTA Board Approves Refunds for Metro-North Power Failure

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority today approved rider refunds for the disruption on Metro-North trains that has snarled commutes since a power failure on Sept. 25.

The board of the rail service authorized credits for New Haven line customers who hold monthly or weekly tickets during the disruption of service, the transportation agency said in a statement on its website. Trains were limited after a Consolidated Edison Inc. feeder cable failed.

“Because of the unprecedented magnitude and duration of this disruption, the MTA Board has concluded that a credit for our customers is simply the right thing to do,” MTA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Thomas Prendergast said in the statement.

The MTA is working on a plan on how credits will be received. Refunds will come from Metro-North’s operating budget, Marjorie Anders, an MTA spokeswoman, said in an e-mail statement. The cost could be as much as $2 million if the power failure lasts a week and as much as $4 million if it lasts for two weeks, Anders said.

Metro-North New Haven’s line serves about 130,000 commuters daily in Connecticut and suburban Westchester County in New York.

Temporary Feeders

Con Edison said yesterday that the electrical failure on the cable was probably caused by work done to disconnect a second line for Metro-North’s upgrade of a substation. The utility expects to completely restore power to the train line by Oct. 7. It built temporary feeders that have allowed for more electric trains to operate.

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy said Con Edison is “ultimately responsible” and should pay passenger refunds for the disruption on Metro-North trains.

Con Edison also should be responsible for interim service and restoration costs stemming from the “power-supply debacle,” the governor wrote in a letter to the New York-owned MTA today.

“Connecticut commuters should never have been put in this situation in the first place, but the unprecedented action taken by the board today is the first step in making things right,” Malloy said in a statement after the MTA decision.

Con Edison’s “first priority is restoring full service to Metro-North customers,” Michael Clendenin, a spokesman for the New York-based utility owner, said in an e-mailed statement. “There will be many issues to discuss once power is restored.”

With diesel and electric trains, the line operated at more than 50 percent of capacity yesterday, up from a third last week, Malloy said during a news conference.

Metro-North’s New Haven line will operate at 65 percent capacity tomorrow due to an increase in power capacity from Con Edison’s temporary power supply, the train operator said on its website.

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