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.”
What’s the story, Con Ed?
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.
What havoc will the heat wreak
Photo © Governor Andrew Cuomo/Flickr
Just in the past month, power problems caused 32,000 subway delays, prompting Governor Cuomo to direct “Con Edison to take significant and immediate actions to improve the subway’s power reliability and prevent future service failure,” according to a press release. Less than two months after declaring a “state of emergency” for the subway system, Cuomo’s given Con Ed and the MTA one year to identify and repair the problems, the most comprehensive power review ever done, leaving them on the hook to inspect 470 manholes, 1,100 boxes, and 221 power substations at street level and 1,100 energy distribution rooms, 300 signal relay rooms, 15,000 track circuits, 11,000 signals, 13,750 insulated joints, 11,000 trip stops, 220 interlockings, and 1,800 switch machines below ground. The cost? It’s not yet been officially calculated, but Con Ed chairman John McAvoy says it’s likely to be tens of millions of dollars.
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Image via 350.org flickr
Con Edison announced Monday that the utility company will offer solar panels and batteries to 300 Brooklyn and Queens homes as part of a plan to create a virtual power plant for the city’s power grid, as the company outlines in a “Clean Virtual Power Plant” implementation plan (pdf). Quartz reports that Con Ed, partnered with solar-panel manufacturer Sunpower and energy storage company SunVerge, plans to use these “grid assets” as backup power and as a source of electricity and balancing services for the grid.
Residential Con Ed customers will be able to lease the solar and lithium-ion battery systems from the power company for a small fee that will appear on their bill. There is currently no net metering method in place for the homeowners to sell power back to the grid as some individual solar panel users do, though ConEd says that if the project is successful it will allow suppliers/aggregators of solar rooftop and battery systems to sell to the grid.
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