Manhattan East Side Close to Blackout

Update 4pm Friday: Thankfully the grid held yesterday in Midtown, Murray Hill and Gramercy areas, although one building in Kips Bay lost power for a day, that seemed to be the worst of it. Hats off to everyone who helped reduce power at that critical time last night. Special recognition to Councilmember Dan Garodnick who personally went out with his entire staff to canvass the neighborhood to ask folks to reduce power dramatically.

Update 10:01pm: NY1 has some new coverage, including the fact that a building in Kips Bay is without power and the rest of the neighborhood is still on the brink

Manhattan's East Side is the latest part of the city to be hit with outages. Con Ed crews are working to fix manhole fires and feeder cables along the Lower East Side, as many residents are left without power. Con Ed says the feeders serve more than 50,000 customers, and that could mean hundreds of thousands of people are without power. One of the buildings without power is the Kips Bay Towers. Residents NY1 spoke with there say they are doing their best to cope with the loss of both power and water to the building. “It was a brownout [Wednesday] night. The lights were low, the air conditioners were not as functional as they usually are, so I knew something was happening last night,” said Kips Bay resident Karen Braglia. “And then when I woke up this morning the air conditioning wasn't working at all."
Update 4:15pm: NY Times has some more depth

The utility reported that it had lost the use of multiple feeder cables in each of two networks on the East Side, 3 of 12 at Kips Bay and 4 of 24 at Madison Square. The networks cover the area between 14th and 40th Streets, Fifth Avenue and the East River. Three manhole fires in the morning, at 30th Street and First Avenue, 29th Street and Lexington Avenue, and 24th Street and Third Avenue apparently started the problem. Power was still on at midday today in the high-rise, heavily commercial neighborhood. The utility said it had 53,000 customers in the area, but a customer could be an entire building.
Update 4:08pm: Crain's has just put up this story

Quick note from an inside source that New York City is close to a blackout right now - especially in the 3-6pm time window as that's peak demand. We have set all time records this week. If things get close, I suspect we will see rolling blackouts across the city during these hours as they try to shed peak loads. Do whatever you can to conserve electric NOW!!!

Councilmember Dan Garodnick's staff will be handing out energy saving tips to people in the East 20s, 30s and 40s this afternoon. Here is a Con Edison press release:

NEW YORK -- Con Edison crews are repairing seven feeders in two East Side networks. Four of 24 feeders are out of service in the Madison Square network, which serves approximately 29,400 customers between 14th Street and 30th Street, from Fifth Avenue to the East River. Crews are working on three of 12 feeders in the Kips Bay network, which supplies electricity to approximately 23,700 customers between 30th Street and 40th Street, from Madison Avenue to the East River. The company is urging all customers in these areas to discontinue their use of non-essential electrical appliances and equipment until problems on electrical equipment can be resolved. Con Edison headquarters on Irving Place is on its own generation. The company is in constant communication with the New York City Office of Emergency Management.
Update: Liz Krueger email

New York State Senate, 26th District

**Energy Outages on the East Side – Please Conserve**

A majority of feeders which provide electricity from 14th Street up to 40th Street and from 5th Avenue to the East River, have gone out. These include two serving the Madison Square Garden network and three serving the Kips Bay network. Affected areas are in danger of losing power altogether.

Crews are working right now to prevent this from happening.

The City is asking that all non-essential electrical appliances be turned off in order to conserve energy until Con Ed has resolved the problem.

If you experience an energy outage, you should contact Con Ed at 1-800-752-6633, TTY: 1-800-624-2308.

Due to the heat, the City has set up designated "Cooling Centers" for residents. Find a Cooling Center nearest you by visiting:

You can also contact 311 for more information, or assistance.

In a time of crisis, we must work together. However, once crises like these are over we cannot forget that there are larger issues of infrastructure neglect that our city and state must address.

Energy problems like those which plague Queens, and which we face today, demonstrate a need for a systematic upgrade of our energy facilities. I also believe these crises illustrate the hazards of rampant deregulation New York State has implemented during the tenure of Governor George Pataki. While proponents of deregulation claimed that it would create incentives for power companies to invest in grid infrastructure, the opposite has in fact been the case. It is clear to me that not only has deregulation been a failure, but possibly a dangerous failure. We need to reevaluate these decisions, and the State must act to ensure the power grid is modernized.

I will continue to work in the legislature and with the next governor, to address our state's infrastructure deficiencies.


Liz Krueger

State Senator