City demands answers from Con Edison after heat wave power outages
Image: Consumerist dot com via Flickr.
After thousands of New Yorkers lost power this weekend as temperatures soared through the 90s, the city looked to Con Ed for answers, including Mayor Bill De Blasio, who said in a Monday briefing that he was “extremely disappointed” in the utility provider, Gothamist reports. The latest shortfall, which saw over 50,000 customers in a swath of southeast Brooklyn without power this weekend, was apparently no accident; Con Ed throttled power to its customers in a “preemptive move to take those customers in southeast Brooklyn out of service in order to protect vital equipment and to help restore power as soon as possible.”
Governor Cuomo announces power has been fully restored following a widespread power outage in Midtown Manhattan. Photo: Gov. Andrew Cuomo/Flickr
Some customers in Flatbush, Canarsie and Mill Basin were still without power Monday morning after having to endure the year’s hottest weekend. The intentional outage puts the spotlight on what many see as egregious incompetence and lack of communication on the part of the privately-owned utility. Governor Andrew Cuomo railed that Con Ed’s license should be revoked following last weekend’s blackout, and De Blasio has suggested that a public entity might do a better job, according to the Daily News, adding that “We don’t depend on a private company for water or for policing or for fire protection. If they can’t handle the job, it’s time to look at new alternatives. If Con Ed cannot answer us — why these things are happening and what they’re going to do differently to stop them — then why are we depending on a private company for something so vital?”
Tim Cawley, Con Ed’s president, had said last week that customers could count on reliable service during the heat wave, saying that the system would hold up to 13,300 megawatts. Allen Drury, a spokesperson for the company, said the strategy of intentionally cutting service to spare the power grid happens only in extreme circumstances. Engineers made the call to black out parts of the borough where, according to Drury, equipment was under extreme stress.
Governor Cuomo called the decision unacceptable, saying in a statement, “We have been through this situation with Con Ed time and again, and they should have been better prepared—period. This was not a natural disaster; there is no excuse for what has happened in Brooklyn.”