At 4AM this morning, Con Ed said that most of Queens had its power. About one hundred or so customers are still without power and "some restored customers may experience lower than normal voltage conditions or sporadic outages as crews reinforce the area’s power cable system" (or power being totally knocked out again), but other than that, things are sort of back to normal. Which means the lawsuits can begin: The mother of a feverish 2 year old is suing because the hospital told her to feed cool drinks and ice cream to bring down the 102 fever, but with the blackout, that couldn't happen!
All the papers are wondering why Mayor Bloomberg defended Con Ed so strongly, in the face of alienating the Queens community (the Post suggested brain blacked out). The NY Sun points out that Mayors Koch and Giuliani have sued Con Ed in the past, but Mayor Bloomberg probably won't, as he thinks there's "not a lot we can do" about blackouts. Say what? How about developing an infrastructure to enable Con Ed to avoid these kinds of problems? If Con Ed can't go turn off power to a removed street lamp after the Department of Transportation tells it the lamp's gone, which ended up killing a dog...
The Observer talks to a few pundits, and a professor at Columbia University, Steven Cohen, thinks that "since Con Ed is a regulated utility and there is no alternative company for delivering the city’s electricity, the city had no choice but to make the best of the situation." But if Con Ed is the only resource, then you have nothing to lose by questioning its abilities (though maybe it's not the motivational way to go about it). At any rate, Con Ed CEO Kevin Burke still doesn't know what caused the problem.
The NY Times has an excellent article about how Queens neighborhoods affected by this blackout frequently have feeder cable failures by looking at Con Ed's records with the state: The "Long Island City network" had 71 cable failures in 2005, for a total of 3,039 hours.
Photograph of Con Ed workers earlier this week from Tina Fineberg/AP