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After blackout, and with higher temps looming, de Blasio says he's 'jaded' over Con Ed

The mayor, warning of excessive heat this weekend, said he wasn't happy with the lack of answers regarding Saturday's outage.

A large section of Manhattan's Upper West Side

A large section of Manhattan's Upper West Side and midtown neighborhoods were left in the dark for five hours on Saturday. Photo Credit: Getty Images/Scott Heins

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday that he’s “jaded” over utility Con Edison after Saturday night’s blackout in Manhattan cut power to nearly a quarter-million people — especially with temperatures expected to approach 100 degrees this weekend.

Speaking at a news conference to warn New Yorkers to stay cool, de Blasio said, “I’m not happy with the lack of answers” about what caused a 13,000-volt cable to burn and the substation’s supposed redundancy to fail.

“I am in a jaded place about Con Ed right now. I want to have faith,” de Blasio said, with hot temperatures expected through Sunday. On Saturday, the city is preparing for a possible high of 100 degrees with a heat index of 109, de Blasio said.

Asked about the mayor's "jaded" comments, Con Ed spokesman Allan Drury wrote in an email: "We provided detailed information on Monday on our preliminary findings. Our engineers and planners are continuing a thorough review. We’ll share more details as we have them."

The outage disrupted subway lines and above-ground transportation, and closed Broadway shows.

On Wednesday, there were pockets of outages throughout the city. About 1,700 “customers” — there are, on average, three people for each customer’s meter — in Coney Island lost power, according to Deanne Criswell, de Blasio’s commissioner of emergency management. She also said a power outage on Staten Island earlier in the day was fixed. 

Earlier this week, the utility said that on Saturday, a relay-protection system that was supposed to isolate failures such as the cable failed to do so. Power was restored in about five hours.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has threatened to replace Con Ed.

At Wednesday’s news conference, de Blasio sounded a note of caution about what might happen if a similar failure struck during daytime high temperatures. He urged New Yorkers to use air conditioning — at 78 degrees, to preserve power.

“Anything that would happen in the middle of the day would put a huge, huge strain on this city, unquestionably,” he said.


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