Rain from Hurricane Barry hit the city on Wednesday night (and this morning!), but we're also in the middle of a heat wave and while there weren't power outages on the scale of the West Side Blackout, thousands of New Yorkers across the Bronx, Manhattan, Staten Island, and Queens were hit with smaller blackouts.
Nearly 4,000 customers (which could mean a house with a family; an apartment; or a business) in New Dorp, Staten Island, were without power on Wednesday night. The issue was an "equipment failure," according to Council Member Steven Matteo (who had dealt with another part of his district being struck by outages on Tuesday).
Over 3500 without power. According to Con Ed, the cause is due to equipment failure and the ETR is 10:00pm.
In the meantime, I have requested the NYPD to send patrol cars to major intersections on Hylan where lights are out.
Will stay on it...
— Steven Matteo (@StevenMatteo) July 17, 2019
The neighborhood had a smaller outage earlier on Wednesday that affected about 400 customers, and then Stapleton had an "equipment failure" resulting in 500+ customers without power.
Elsewhere, outages were caused by manhole fires. Why so many? A Con Edison spokesperson previously told Gothamist, "We tend to have manhole events during the summer, when there's a lot of A.C. usage. Even more so during the winter, when melting snow and ice and road salt gets into the underground delivery system. That can get in the wiring … and cause smoking, and sometimes smoking manholes are manhole fires."
And higher A.C. usage is on deck for the weekend; on Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said, "If you don't need to go somewhere, don't go somewhere," the mayor said. "It's kind of like we say in blizzards. This is now the heat equivalent of a blizzard, if we're going up above a hundred degrees. Don't go out if you don't need to go out. It's not business as usual."
Here's where issues struck:
• In East Elmhurst, Queens, a "transformer fire lead to a manhole fire" and explosions on Wednesday night around 9 p.m.
(East Elmhurst, Queens) Flames Erupting From Transformer Fire — Firefighters have requested Con Edison personnel respond to help control the situation. More video here: https://t.co/JCkzutfhy1 #CitizenAppNYC pic.twitter.com/anrz2Ke5Cf
— Citizen NYC (@CitizenApp_NYC) July 18, 2019
• There were also manhole fires in Maspeth, Queens, and Sunset Park, Brooklyn, that led to high carbon monoxide levels and evacuations.
WABC 7 explained, "The localized power outages due to the fires were all caused by the rain or overheating wires below the ground. That is something we can expect to see more of as the temperatures continue to soar over the weekend."
• A Wednesday afternoon manhole fire left some customers in Borough Park without power:
FDNY on scene of a manhole fire on 18th Ave and 46th St. causing a power outage in nearby stores. pic.twitter.com/9xT0Eft2Dw
— Boro Park News (@BoroPark24) July 17, 2019
• Flushing was also hit by outages after the storm:
Con Edison is responding to a power outage in the Flushing section of Queens, including ZIP codes: 11358 and 11355.
If you are affected by an outage:
- Report it at https://t.co/jWpIAf3TVx or call 1-800-75-CONED (26633), or if you have a... https://t.co/jWpIAf3TVx
— Peter Koo (@CMPeterKoo) July 18, 2019
• A feeder cable issue led to outages in the Bronx's Soundview section:
These are the boundaries within the outage area:
North - Main Street
South - Schurz Avenue
West - Soundview Street
East - Graff Avenue
— Corey Johnson (@CoreyinNYC) July 18, 2019
• On Thursday morning just after 4 a.m., a smoking manhole was reported at Central Park West and 106th Street. West Side Rag reports, "lights are out at 465 Central Park West and Con Ed crews are on the scene."
Simple request for today...no outages!!
— Steven Matteo (@StevenMatteo) July 18, 2019
"The cause of manhole events is always a failure of equipment on the underground electric delivery system — often a burnt-out cable," Con Ed spokesperson Allan Drury told Metro a few years ago.
Saturday's blackout, that stretched from 30th Street to 72nd Street and Fifth Avenue to the Hudson River in Manhattan, was caused by a 13,000 volt feeder cable that blew up in an Upper West Side manhole... and the relay protection system didn't work, so it basically killed the West Side substation.