NY leaders blast utility firm after latest blackout amidst heat wave

Monday, July 22, 2019

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NEW YORK, United States (AFP) — New York's mayor slammed power company Con Edison on Monday after thousands of homes suffered electricity cuts just a week after a major outage plunged Manhattan into darkness.

About 53,000 customers — mostly in Brooklyn — lost power on Sunday night, leaving them without air conditioning as a crippling heat wave swept across much of the United States.

Con Edison said it cut some services "to protect vital equipment" after consumption hit a new record of 12,063 megawatts at 6:00 pm Sunday (2200 GMT) as New Yorkers sweltered in dangerously hot weather. For some, the cut lasted through the night.

That was in contrast to the five-hour blackout on July 13, which was caused by equipment failure on a high-voltage line.

"I am extremely disappointed with Con Ed," Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters, adding that their decision to turn off the power when it was dark raised "safety and security issues".

He called for a "full investigation" into both outages and hinted that authorities may consider a "new entity" if Con Edison, which has a monopoly on electricity in New York, couldn't provide a satisfactory explanation.

"It's very clear we have to question whether Con Ed as it is structured now can do the job going forward or whether we need to go to an entirely different approach," said de Blasio.

Con Edison said Monday that power had been restored to 33,000 customers and that it expected the remaining 21,000 to have electricity back by the afternoon.

"We've been through this situation w ConEd time & again & they should have been better prepared - period," New York Governor Andrew Cuomo wrote on Twitter on Sunday night.


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