The first heat wave of the summer coincided conveniently with power outages in Brooklyn and Queens on Wednesday, leaving more than 1,200 customers in the dark across Bushwick, Flushing, Astoria, Long Island City and Jamaica.
In Bushwick, CBS reports that an outage at Knickerbocker and DeKalb Avenues knocked out street lights, prompting cops to direct traffic.
Ah, NYC under the ConEd (regulated-ish) monopoly. Where power reliably goes out for four hours for a Bushwick block. pic.twitter.com/oLt08TfTcG
— David Moore (@ppolitics) July 6, 2016
Con Ed crews are still at work making repairs this afternoon, and the company has identified 213 customers still in the dark, down from yesterday's peak of 1,224. Thirty-six of those unlucky customers live in Flushing, according to Con Ed's outage map, 22 in Jamaica, and 121 in Long Island City. The rest are scattered around Queens and Brooklyn.
Con Ed spokesman Sidney Alzarez said on Thursday that he strongly doubted the outages were heat related. "We are experiencing some hot temperatures right now, but to call these heat related—it's not likely," he said. "We've had, in the past, higher temps that we've had to deal with. In a nutshell, we have what's called a 'peak load demand,' and we haven't reached that at all."
"Having 1,200 customers out is not an unusual situation," he added, hedging quickly that, "we don't want anyone to be out. But this isn't a very high number at all. We've had thousands out." True.
— Jamie Frevele (@jamiefrevele) July 7, 2016
Power outage in bushwick are we going to a repeat of the blackout of 77 ???
— Bill Spector (@billspec) July 6, 2016
So what did cause hundreds of people to kick their air conditioners yesterday? In Astoria, ABC reports, a manhole issue on 44th Street and Broadway left 100 people without service. And in Flushing, a manhole fire at Prince Street and Roosevelt Avenue impacted the NYCHA-run Bland Houses.
Alzarez said that both Brooklyn and Queens are supplied by overhead and underground Con Ed systems. The latter, to hear him tell it, are constantly at risk of being compromised. "There could be many factors why the cable burned out," he said. "During the winter when the city puts salt in the road, the salt gets into our system, and it's highly corrosive. Then there could be regular wear or tear on the cables, or rats chewing the cables, or vibrations from the subways disrupting the cables. Then there's also the heat factor."
Alzarez also cautioned that the storms on tap for later today could compromise overhead wires.
For now, if you're among the unlucky ones still in the dark, Con Ed's outage map updates every 15 minutes with estimated power restoration times.