Heat wave knocks out power to thousands in NYC

July 22, 2019 GMT

NEW YORK (AP) — Thousands of New York City residents grappled with power outages Sunday night as extreme heat continued to bake the metro area with temperatures hovering in the high 90s and the possibility of severe thunderstorms loomed.

Roughly 53,000 customers were without power late Sunday evening due to scattered outages, mostly in Brooklyn and Queens, according to Con Edison, the utility company that provides power to the city and Westchester. The utility said it was reducing voltage and asked customers to turn off non-essential appliances to conserve power.

Earlier, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Con Ed was taking 30,000 customers in Brooklyn temporarily off power so it could make repairs and prevent a bigger outage. He said their system in parts of Brooklyn is under severe strain and that some equipment had failed.

De Blasio said that New York City emergency management was adding personnel on the ground across that part of Brooklyn, including nursing homes and adult care facilities, to respond to emergencies and keep people safe.

The Democratic mayor later tweeted that Con Ed would start bringing those “customers back 500 at a time around midnight.”

The National Weather Service also warned of severe thunderstorms affecting Brooklyn, Queens, southern Nassau County, as well as Staten Island and parts of New Jersey. The city’s emergency management department advised the storm could bring heavy winds and further power outages.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey reissued an alert about weather-related flight disruptions at LaGuardia Airport in Queens at 11:30 p.m.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he deployed 200 state troopers, 100 generators and 50 light towers to Brooklyn, as well as personnel and command vehicles from the state Office of Emergency management. He urged New Yorkers to check on neighbors, especially the elderly.

“We have been through this situation with Con Ed time and again, and they should have been better prepared — period,” Cuomo said in a statement. “This was not a natural disaster; there is no excuse for what has happened in Brooklyn.”

Cuomo also said he directed the state Department of Public Service to widen its investigation into last week’s blackout in Manhattan to include Sunday’s outages in Brooklyn.

Equipment failure, not heat, caused a roughly five-hour blackout July 13 that affected a 40-block stretch of Manhattan, including Times Square and Rockefeller Center.