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Con Edison, other utility stocks take a hit after customers lose power in heat wave

Key Points
  • The stocks of several utilities opened lower, after weekend power outages were reported during a major heat wave and from severe storms.
  • New York's Mayor Bill deBlasio criticized Consolidated Edison for not providing many answers on the outage, which affected 52,000 Sunday and was partly due to the utility turning off power for some customers because of overload.
  • Stocks came off their lows in afternoon trading, as power resumed in some areas.
Source: coned.com

The stocks of Consolidated Edison, Public Service Enterprise Group and DTE Energy, all hit by power outages, fell at the open Monday and were off lows in afternoon trading as more power was restored.

About 13,300 Con Ed customers were still without power as of Monday afternoon, after more than 52,000 lost electricity Sunday. Southeast Brooklyn was the worst hit area, with the utility saying it had to shut off power to 33,000 customers because of high usage.

In New Jersey, several thousand were without power over the weekend as temperatures soared.

Public Service Enterprise Group shares were slightly lower in afternoon trading, after opening lower. The outages affected customers of both PSE&G and First Energy's Jersey Central Power and Light. Public Services' PSE&G said there were about 2,400 customers in New Jersey without power as of 1:15 p.m. Monday.

First Energy shares opened lower but edged slightly higher in afternoon trading. There were about 2,372 First Energy customers without power in New Jersey Monday afternoon. There were also about 1,500 without power in West Virgina, just under 1,600 affected in Pennsylvania and 1,700 in Ohio.

DTE Energy said on its website that severe storms Friday and Saturday caused 600,000 power outages in its Michigan service area, which includes Detroit. Its website projects that 80% would be restored by Monday and a full 100% by Wednesday.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday he is losing faith in Con Edison after prolonged outages in the middle of a heat wave. "I can't trust them at this point because I'm not getting any real answers," the mayor said, according to wire reports.

Power outage at Times Square, July 13, 2019
CNBC

The outage follows a high-profile blackout affecting tens of thousands of customers in midtown the weekend earlier, which darkened parts of Times Square and Broadway on a Saturday night. The mayor, who is running for president, held a news conference just before 8 a.m. ET Monday.

Con Edison stock was off its lows in afternoon trading, but was down 0.7% at $86.62.

"I think it's from de Blasio and other saying we're not going to put up with it," said Art Cashin, head of floor operations at UBS.