State Assemblyman Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) and City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) said it was unclear whether Con Ed was to blame for the contractor's death. But they said the utility could not be trusted to conduct the investigation."We really need an independent investigation of the circumstances of this tragedy," Gianaris said. "This is yet another death on Con Ed's watch. It's a pattern that cannot be ignored. If Con Ed is left in charge, they will deny responsibility and pass the buck."Con Ed said it was conducting an investigation into the incident. The utility said the contractor had worked for Brooklyn's CKR Construction and was not a Con Ed employee. The victim, whose name was not released, was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, a Con Ed spokeswoman said..The contractor was excavating and installing cable at the substation when he was electrocuted, she said."We're investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident," the spokeswoman said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family."CKR Construction could not be reached for comment.But Vallone said Con Ed should not be allowed to conduct its own investigation, citing the 10-day borough blackout in July 2006 that left 174,000 people without power and the steam-pipe explosion last summer in Manhattan, which caused one woman to have a fatal heart attack, as reasons.He said he supports an investigation of the utility by an outside agency."I have no evidence that Con Ed is at fault," he said. "But western Queens does have evidence that they should not be allowed to investigate themselves. We absolutely need an independent investigation."Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at news@times
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