Con Edison blames transmission problem for NYC power blip that disrupted subways (UPDATE)

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Where were you when the lights (almost) went out?

New Yorkers took to Twitter on Sunday night to report a brief power dip experienced in neighborhoods across the city.

Early on Monday morning, a Con Edison spokesperson blamed the blip on “a fault to an underground transmission feeder in Long Island City” which “caused a momentary voltage disturbance [that] lasted a fraction of a second for all customers.” 

The company is now investigating what caused the trip.

The flash happened just before 8:30 p.m. on Aug. 29. It sparked lots of curiosity from New Yorkers concerned about the power dip — and “extremely limited service” on several subway lines for the remainder of the evening.

In a cryptic response to a tweet from a concerned customer on Sunday night, a Con Edison spokesperson acknowledged the “power issue” was “temporary, and has since been resolved.” The company did not immediately state what caused the sudden drop.

Some had speculated the power dip may have been sparked by a reported transformer fire on 12th Street in Astoria, Queens which occurred at around the same time. The incident, located not too far from the Ravenswood power station.

It seemed to send a plume of white smoke into the sky, but Bill Neidhardt, a spokesperson for Mayor Bill de Blasio, relayed information from NYC Emergency Management that the plume was, in fact, steam from a nearby power station.

The Fire Department reported that it responded to the manhole fire at about 8:26 p.m. on Aug. 29, but that it got the situation under control at about 8:53 p.m. There were no serious injuries reported.

It’s not clear, at this point, whether the manhole fire was connected to the citywide power blip in any way.

If things weren’t weird enough, MTA New York City Transit reported that the numbered subway lines and the L train were suffering from severe service delays connected to the “power surge.” Travelers were urged to use buses and the lettered lines as alternate routes.

Service on the impacted lines was fully restored just before 2 a.m. Monday morning, the MTA reported.

Back in December 2018, Queens residents experienced a similar flicker in lights when a blast occurred at its Astoria facility. While the lights remained on, the evening sky glowed in an eerie shade of blue stemming from the inferno.

amNewYork Metro reached out to Con Edison for further information on Sunday’s incident, and is awaiting a response.

As for outages, Con Edison reported Sunday night just a handful of sporadic power failures, affecting 28 customers out of more than 3.5 million across the five boroughs. 

The city hasn’t suffered a major blackout since August 2003, when it was impacted by a massive power failure experienced across the northeast United States.