Con Ed warns of potential blackouts from impending NYC heat wave

July 16, 2019

Governor Cuomo announces power has been fully restored following the widespread power outage in Midtown Manhattan. Photo: Gov. Andrew Cuomo/Flickr

The most recent intel on Saturday’s power outage that left the country’s densest urban area dark from 72nd Street south to 30th Street is that a burning 13,000-volt cable at a substation near West 65th Street was the culprit, according to the New York Times. Consolidated Edison said Monday that the burning cable shut down the flow of electricity to more than 72,000 Midtown Manhattan customers. And while the blackout wasn’t a direct result of an overtaxed grid, the New York Post reports, Con Ed warned Monday that mind-melting temperatures in the 90s expected this weekend–Saturday’s 97 degrees will feel like 106–could lead to service outages.

So is the weekend heatwave likely to cause more chaos within the city’s aging infrastructure? With four days of 90-degree-plus temperatures in the forecast from Friday on, company spokesman Mike Clendenin said, “We expect that there could be service outages — those things happen during heatwaves.”

Gov. Cuomo, long a Con Ed critic, conveyed a stern warning to the utility–it’s worth noting Con Ed hopes to raise rates for electricity and natural gas by 8.6 percent and 14.5 percent, respectively–after Saturday’s event, threatening to yank Con Ed’s operating license, saying that it “does not have a franchise granted by God” and “can be replaced.” Cuomo said, “When you are talking about a blackout or a potential blackout or a significant area of the city having a blackout, you are really dealing with potential chaos and public safety threats. And the system has to be better than that. Period. And we’re going to work with Con Ed, but that’s what New Yorkers deserve and that’s what New Yorkers will get.”

Clendenin responded to the governor’s swipe during an appearance on the PIX11 Morning News by claiming that Con Ed’s power grid “is probably better than any other” in the US. Even Gov. Cuomo assures us that the company does the necessary diligence to keep the city from imminent danger, saying in an announcement after the blackout, “Con Ed…upgrades their equipment, changes their equipment, the maintenance level is very high.”

And if the worst should happen and the lights go out? Take heart, New Yorkers rise to the occasion. Clendenin said, “There’s a lot of patience and poise that New Yorkers displayed during the outage itself.”

[Via NYPost]


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