With extreme heat expected this week, Con Edison is saying there could be more power outages after a blackout that left tens of thousands in the dark in midtown Manhattan over the weekend.
Con Ed said in a statement that more than 72,000 customers along 30 blocks from Times Square to the Upper West Side lost power shortly after 6:45 p.m. on Saturday, July 13. It took crews several hours until power was completely restored around midnight.
"Over the next several days and weeks, our engineers and planners will carefully examine the data and equipment performance relating to this event, and will share our findings with regulators and the public," Con Ed said in a statement on Sunday.
In an interview on PIX11, Con Ed spokesman Mike Clendenin said that there could be additional service outages this week as the heat index (the combination of the high temperature and humidity) is expected to climb to around the 100-degree mark on Tuesday, July 16 and Wednesday, July 17.
“We expect that there could be service outages — those things happen during heat waves,” he said. “We know it’s going to be intense. This heat wave coming up is something else and we’ve got to get ready for it.”
The cause of the weekend blackout in NYC remains under investigation by Con Edison.
“There’s a lot of patience and poise that New Yorkers displayed during the outage itself. The same kind of patience and diligence is gonna be needed as engineers and experts dive into the date and actually analyze how equipment tripped off, or what went wrong, that led to the large outage,” Clendenin added. “Unfortunately, with outages like this, it takes a little bit of time and understanding.”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been critical of Con Edison and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in the wake of the outages. The governor warned the utility company is not irreplaceable and will need to “deliver, or we’re going to have to find a different delivery mechanism.”
"You look in the Old Testament or the New Testament, it doesn't say anywhere Con Ed must be the utility company. They have a franchise,” Cuomo said. “They're licensed by the people of the city to do the job and my point to them was you have to do the job and this is not acceptable because there are certain situations that are just too dangerous and this is one of those situations that's too dangerous.”
Cuomo said that he is ordering an independent investigation on top of the internal investigation Con Edison is currently undergoing.
“Con Ed, they are nice people, I know Mr. (John) McAvoy, who runs Con Ed and we've done a lot of work together, but it's about the functionality at the end of the day and some situations you just can't tolerate,” Cuomo said. “You can't have a blackout in New York City. Let's be honest. We got very lucky the other night. When you have a blackout in a city like New York, you are one step away from chaos and mayhem. It just can’t happen.”
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