Rep. Maloney Seeks Answers from Con Ed on Yesterday’s Blackout
New York, NY – Today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D- Manhattan, Queens) wrote to Con Edison CEO Kevin Burke to express her concern that yesterday’s blackout on the Upper East Side and in the Bronx may be a sign that ConEd has not done enough to shore up its power grid, particularly in western Queens. The blackout left approximately 385,000 people without power for almost an hour yesterday evening, causing confusion on the streets and halting the 4, 5, 6, D, E, and V subway lines. Maloney noted the blackout was likely caused by “tripped” circuit breakers at an electrical substation in Astoria, Queens, the same area that suffered through a 10-day blackout last summer.
“This is an ominous sign for the rest of the summer,” Maloney said. “Why didn’t the changes ConEd supposedly put into effect after last summer’s blackout in Queens prevent this latest outage from happening?”
“I understand that problems occur, but given last year’s prolonged blackout, I am concerned that Con Edison still has not taken adequate measures to ensure that power outages are the exception, rather than the rule, during the summer months,” Maloney added.
The full text of Maloney’s letter to Burke follows.
June 28, 2007
Mr. Kevin Burke
Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer
Consolidated Edison Company of New York
4 Irving Place
New York, NY 10003
Dear Mr. Burke:
I am writing to express my concerns regarding the power outage that left 385,000 people on the Upper East Side and in the Bronx without electricity for almost an hour yesterday evening. My office at 92nd Street and 3rd Avenue was directly affected by this outage. Although the blackout did not last long, it caused considerable disorder and confusion, darkening traffic lights and bringing subways on the East Side to a standstill.
I am particularly alarmed that the cause of the outage was reportedly traced to an electrical substation in Astoria, Queens. As you know, last summer, my constituents in Western Queens suffered through a 10-day blackout caused by ConEd’s failure to adequately maintain the power grid in the area. Now, with the season for high temperatures and peak electricity demand only just beginning, we have already had yet another electrical malfunction in western Queens.
Accordingly, I would like to know 1) why the circuit breakers opened at the Astoria substation, 2) what you are doing to ensure that the problem will not happen again and 3) why the changes put into effect as a result of last summer’s blackout were not sufficient to prevent yesterday’s blackout from occurring. We can expect more hot days and thunderstorms as the summer progresses. I understand that problems happen, but given the events of last summer, I am concerned that Con Edison still has not taken adequate measures to ensure that power outages are the exception, rather than the rule, during the summer months.
I greatly appreciate your attention and prompt response to the foregoing concerns.
CAROLYN B. MALONEY
Member of Congress