ConEd rate increase...

Behind The News
July 11, 2008 12:47:26 PM PDT
What's the old saw about being nice to the people on your way up 'cause you're going to need them on the way down? I thought about that advice today when ConEd announced its 22% electric rate hike this summer for residential customers. (It's even higher -- 25% -- for business customers.)

The truth, as best as we can tell, is that the utility is passing on costs from its suppliers, costs we are all dealing with - the fast-rising price of natural gas and oil, which has doubled in the last year.

But New Yorkers are so jaded and skeptical about ConEd - not unjustifiably - that this summertime announcement isn't sitting well. Perhaps if ConEd hadn't already had rate increases that weren't tied to supply costs, then New Yorkers might be more forgiving. Perhaps if ConEd hadn't already outraged tens of thousands with the power shortages of the past few summers, then New Yorkers could accept this rising-cost-of-living more in stride.

But as my father used to say, "if" is a big word, as in if I had some turkey I could have a turkey sandwich, if I had some bread.

We'll have the latest on the ConEd increase, and reaction, tonight at 11.

We're also following the not-so-amusing problems for those gotta-have-everything-new folks who bought the new iPhone today. In fact, it wasn't just the new customers, but the existing ones as well. There were apparently big problems getting the new phones activated, and the existing ones upgraded automatically. As I'm writing this, the people I know with iPhones are still not totally up to speed.

And one item, related to energy prices, caught our attention today. It was the President's motorcade over to the Dept. of Energy for a meeting on the impact of high oil prices. Ann Compton, the long-time ABC News White House Correspondent, says she counted the following vehicles lined up and making their way to the meeting:

15 armored vehicles, including three limos; four black vans; and one large communications truck.

Wonder what the gallons-per-mile are for that little commute?

Hello, Mr. President? Couldn't they come to you? Have you heard of teleconferencing?

And Tappy Phillips tonight has the story of a local Marine who went to Iraq, and got one of those "military suspensions" from his cell phone company - where the cell charges are dramatically slashed, from $100 a month to $20.

But when the Marine returned, he found that the phone company hadn't slashed anything. He protested and was offered a compromise, but nothing close to what he had been promised, and what is typically done for military personnel. So he called Tappy and got 7 On Your Side.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Jeff Smith (in for Lee Goldberg) with the weekend AccuWeather forecast and Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa (in for Liz Cho) and me, tonight at 11, right after 20/20. And by the way, tonight's 20/20 includes a story I reported on a popular flip flop called the "FitFlop," which is supposed to be a gym workout in a shoe. More than 1.5 million have been sold -- but does it work? We put them to the test.