Around 4:30 we received a prerecorded phone message from Con Edison asking us to please turn off and unplug any non-essential appliances. (The voice said we could leave the refrigerator on.) A spokesman for Con Ed tells us that six neighborhoods in Brooklyn are currently subject to a "voltage reduction" because of "a problem with some of the cables supplying power." We're told this is related to today's extreme heat (duh), and the phone calls to Con Ed customers are part of a preemptive effort to avoid a brownout in the borough.

Until further notice, Con Ed customers residing in Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Ft. Greene, Clinton Hill, Bed-Stuy, and Park Slope are encouraged to be big heroes and turn everything off, especially the A.C. We're assured that this is for the good of the borough, and that there are worse fates than sitting alone in a sweltering apartment with just your thoughts for company. Why, just look at this guy; he's gonna be just fine.

UPDATE 5:58 p.m.: In a press release, Con Ed says, "Because of problems on electrical equipment supplying power to several neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Con Edison has reduced voltage by 8 percent to the area... One affected area is bounded by Newtown Creek on the north, Graham Avenue and Throop Avenue on the east, Fulton Street and Pacific Street on the south and the East River on the west. The other affected area is bounded by Fifth Avenue to Prospect Park West and from Pacific Street to 23rd Street.

"Company crews are working now to repair the problems. Con Edison has asked customers in the affected area to turn off all non-essential electrical appliances to help reduce electricity usage until equipment problems can be resolved... Con Edison urges customers to call 1-800-75-CONED promptly if they are experiencing any service difficulties."