A Week without Power
(AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)
Damage to the underground network in Queens
turned out to be greater than the utility company
originally imagined when it said the electrical failures
affected just a couple thousand private and business
customers in the neighborhood. On Friday, Con Ed
provided a new estimate of 25,000 customers, or as
many as 100,000 people.
Mayor: Con Ed closing in on restoring all power
By Patrick Verel and Lensay Abadula
Special to amNewYork
July 24, 2006, 11:30 AM EDT
Power has been restored to 22,000 of the estimated 25,000 Con Ed customers who lost power during last week's heat wave, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said today.
Con Ed thinks it can restore power to most of the 3,000 remaining customers without power today, Bloomberg said. A customer, though, can represent an entire apartment building.
"We are optimistic," he said, "but we aren't going to really know where we stand until the end of the day."
The mayor also said that the utility is planning to give the city an initial report on the electrical failure on Aug. 2.
"There's no reason to believe that Con Ed caused this deliberately," said Bloomberg. The mayor blamed a combination of natural disasters for the power failure.
While he noted that it's not the best situation to have the power utility investigating itself, he said the city had little choice since Con Ed knows its network best.
"It's their company, their network and they've got to go in and fix that," said Bloomberg. "And to go in and go after their CEO just because you want someone to blame doesn't make sense."
The mayor also cautioned that residents who do have power should strive to conserve, even as the weather gets muggier this week.
Bloomberg noted that many Con Ed employees have been working 12- to 16-hour days to get the power back on. One worker suffered burns in a manhole fire, but was treated and released from the hospital.
Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Bruno said Con Edison is "doing a good job," and he encouraged residents to support workers and say "hello" to them.
Yesterday, angry residents and politicians called on officials to declare parts of the borough a disaster area.
"I have to sleep in the car, because of the heat, with my kids," said Rosa Morales, 46, a housekeeper who was one of the 50,000 residents still without power Sunday evening.
Con Edison was still finding damage as they inspected manholes, the utility's chief executive Kevin Burke said Sunday.
"It's very difficult to give a timetable, but like I said, we're getting back customers every hour," he said.
Burke dodged questions about calls by politicans for him to step down. "I think we've been communicating with the public with the best info we had," he said.
Meanwhile, Queens leaders, including Rep. Joe Crowley, D-Queens/Bronx, called on Gov. George Pataki to designate the neighborhoods, which include Astoria, Woodside and Sunnyside, a federal disaster area.
"Anywhere else it would be," he said. "If this were an area of 100,000 people in upstate New York, the governor would have declared it a disaster area."
Bloomberg took days to get out to Astoria, even as there were transformer fires, then generator fires.
If this was last year, Bloomberg would have lost his job over this. Even hampered by days of torrential rains, Con Ed's performance was dillatory. Astoria is packed with restaurants and food stores and the losses to their owners, forget the residents, has been tremendous. Jen's block had power, but across the street didn't. Oh, yeah, she had a couple of fires on her block.
Disaster area designation would be a good idea.So of course, Pataki wants nothing to do with it.
posted by Steve @ 12:13:00 PM