Con Edison says they will pay for the repairs of buildings that suffered physical damage from last week’s steam pipe explosion, but that there will be no compensation for lost business. Many buildings suffered blown-out windows and destroyed signage. The “frozen-zone” around the explosion site has been reduced to the four blocks around E.41st and Lexington Avenue. Stores and restaurants inside the zone remain closed. In addition to lost sales, some eateries have had thousands of dollars worth of food spoil.
It appears that repairs were attempted at the site just days before the explosion. I don’t pretend to understand the legal obligations that Con Ed may be subject to, but it certainly seems that they have a moral obligation to compensate all those businesses who are suffering due to Con Ed’s negligent maintenance of the city’s infrastructure. I suppose Con Ed is just lucky that this incident didn’t happen during the winter, as that steam pipe provides heat to dozens of midtown towers who find it cheaper to buy steam from Con Ed, rather than installing their own boiler systems.