Thousands of Con Ed customers in Brooklyn, Queens lose power during heat wave

More than 50,000 Con Edison customers lost power Sunday night.
More than 50,000 Con Edison customers lost power Sunday night. Photo Credit: Arthouse Hotel NYC

Con Edison was still working to restore power to thousands of customers in Brooklyn and Queens Tuesday after more than 50,000 were affected by outages Sunday night in the city and Westchester County, the utility company said.

In addition to restoring power to the customers affected by Sunday’s outages, Monday evening’s thunderstorms caused about 11,000 new outages, impacting some of the same customers, Con Ed said. The outages came a week after a blackout in the heart of Manhattan.

More than 6,000 customers in Brooklyn and Queens were without power, as of 7 a.m. Tuesday. Power had been restored to customers in the other boroughs.

“Crews continue to work around the clock addressing the outages as quickly as possible,” Con Ed said in a news release.

Con Ed restored power to about 99 percent of the 33,000 customers in Brooklyn, primarily in Canarsie, Flatlands, Mill Basin and other southeast neighborhoods, where the company cut electricity Sunday night to “protect vital equipment” and make heat-related repairs.  

The decision to cut power in Brooklyn during a heat wave was sharply criticized by Mayor Bill de Blasio, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other officials.

The company has given “no answers whatsoever as to why this happened and what is being done to ensure it will not happen again,” de Blasio said during a morning news conference Monday.

The mayor called for a full investigation of the outages and said, “we have to question whether Con Ed, as it’s structured now, can do the job going forward.”

Con Ed said it regrets “the distress” the outages caused in a statement Monday. 

“The actions we took were necessary to prevent longer outages to the impacted customers that would have occurred as a result of additional equipment damage,” the statement said.

The company distributed dry ice in Brooklyn at two customer service vans, set up at Seaview Avenue and 93rd Street in Canarsie and at Avenue K and East 59th Street in Flatlands.

De Blasio said his administration has mobilized to ensure New Yorkers in the affected areas are safe, particularly in Brooklyn where some customers have been without power for over 24 hours.

The NYPD sent 200 officers and staff to the borough for overnight street patrols, and 21 light towers were deployed to provide better visibility, de Blasio said. An additional 50 light towers from the state were on standby, if needed. PS 226 Alfred De B. Mason, at 6006 23rd Ave., was opened as an emergency shelter.

“Thousands of Con Edison customers are still without power,” the mayor said in a statement Monday evening. “After two massive outages in eight days, New Yorkers are out of patience and have lost trust in Con Ed’s ability to provide a basic service.”

Cuomo said in addition to the light towers, 200 state troopers and 100 generators were sent to Brooklyn to assist during the outages.

“We have been through this situation with Con Ed time and again, and they should have been better prepared — period,” Cuomo said in a statement. “This was not a natural disaster; there is no excuse for what has happened in Brooklyn … I have also directed the [New York Public Service Commission] to widen its investigation into last week’s blackout in Manhattan to include tonight’s outages in Brooklyn.”

In an interview with WAMC Monday, Cuomo said the “ultimate sanction” for Con Ed would be to take away its franchise.

“They can lose their franchise. There is a process. They are regulated by the Public Service Commission,” he said. “It’s not easy but we do a lot of things that aren’t easy and legally, it’s totally possible.”

With Newsday

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