New York Power Outage Sparks Outrage : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

July 1, 2000 Power Outage Sparks Outrage


More than 1,000 Con Edison customers in Whitestone lost power for about 40 minutes Thursday night, the utility said. The outage came during the same week when eight buildings on the Upper East Side of Manhattan were blacked out, and the utility was facing renewed criticism of its handling of the power supply.

The Whitestone blackout occurred at 9:43 p.m. Thursday after an underground feeder cable failed, Con Edison spokeswoman Brenda Perez said. She said power was restored at 10:25 p.m. and that no hospitals or other high-consumption customers were affected.

The office of the local City Council member, Republican Michael Abel, said Friday it had not gotten any complaints from residents of the area.

The latest power outages prompted a new burst of outrage from Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. "This is unacceptable, totally unacceptable, the mayor said on his regular Friday morning radio show on WABC/770 AM.

The state agency that oversees and regulates utilities will review the East Side power cuts, a spokesman said.

"Our staff is following up with the company. We will be gathering information to look into the performance of the feeders in that particular network, to determine if this was a feeder failure or if perhaps there are other problems in the network, Public Service Commission spokesman David Flanagan said.

After last year's Con Edison feeder breakdown in Washington Heights, some critics said the Public Service Commission had been so focused on utility deregulation issues that it had under-emphasized monitoring the reliability of day-to-day power-delivery systems.

While the commission's chairwoman, Maureen O. Helmer, stressed the need to build more power plants this week in public statements, the reliability of the state's power grid is under study.

That study, conducted through the state Energy Planning Board, isn't due out until December. Assembly Energy Committee Chairman Paul Tonko (D-Amsterdam) said he had unsuccessfully pushed last year for an earlier completion date.

Citing an Assembly bill, Tonko said Friday that he had urged "stronger emphasis on conservation and efficiency measures, and new technologies for producing power as the utilities and Public Service Commission warn that the gap is closing between electric power supply and demand.

For his part, Giuliani, a political ally these days of Gov. George Pataki, has been focusing his criticisms strictly on the utility and omitted any comments on the commission's performance as a regulator.

Also Friday, the City Council said it would hold a public hearing July 11 on whether Con Edison was capable of providing adequate service during the summer.

-- Martin Thompson (, July 01, 2000


I have a freid living in New York who says service there is getting quite undependable.

-- Uncle Fred (, July 01, 2000.

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