Con Ed is not having a fun time with this heat. Today the utility clocked the highest strain on our power grid ever (13,182 megawatts earlier this afternoon!) and along with it brownouts and a few straight up power outages across town. Though Con Ed told us this morning that the brownouts in Queens were finished we're hearing they never really stopped—and now the utility has started to reduce voltage in neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Queens Manhattan and Staten Island. Is a citywide blackout or brownout approaching?
According to Con Ed the low voltage is necessary to "protect equipment and maintain service." Currently the affected area in Manhattan is basically Central and East Harlem (specifically hurting "approximately 37,000 customers" bounded by West 147th Street to the north, West 110th Street to the south, the East River to the east, and 7th Avenue to the west).
In Staten Island another 60,000 customers are seeing low voltage in these neighborhoods: New Brighton, St. George, Tompkinsville, Brighton Heights, Ward Hill, Stapleton, Grymes Hill, Clifton, Silver Lake, Rosebank, Ft. Wadsworth, Grasmere, Concord, Arrochar, South Beach, Ocean Breeze, Midland Beach, Grant City, New Dorp, and Dongan Hills.
In Brooklyn and Queens approximately 121,000 customers are seeing reduced voltage in East New York, Cypress Hills, Highland Park, City Line, Richmond Hill, Sheepshead Bay, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach, Midwood, Flatbush and East Flatbush. Oh, and a portion of the northeast Bronx from Pelham Parkway north to the Westchester County line is also experiencing brownouts.
Further, beyond those neighborhoods, the Con Ed service problem map is showing further outages across the five boroughs.
Understandably, the city is continuing to ask residents to use as little power as possible and to crank the thermostat on A.C. units up to 78. Meanwhile, a spokesman, Chris Olert, for Con Ed says that the issue at hand is equipment failures, not lack of supply. "The equipment gets very hot,” Olert told Crain's before pointing out, “It's not just the heat, it's the humidity. It's made it that much worse.”
Have you experienced a brownout today?