Sandy Leaves Thousands In The Dark
By MEGAN MONTALVO
While Superstorm Sandy may be out of sight, the after-effects of power loss are still plaguing residents Citywide.
The day after the devastation, Consolidated Edison reported that approximately 780,000 customers were without electrical service, including 116,000 in Queens alone.
Another 7,000 Long Island Power Authority customers were also without power in the Rockaways.
Out of all five boroughs the hardest hit came to Manhattan, which had more than 250,000 customers without electrical service.
According to company officials, customers within Brooklyn and Manhattan served by underground electric equipment should have power back within four days, and restoration to all customers in other areas served by overhead power lines will take at least a week.
“The outages were roughly split between the company’s underground and overhead systems,” Con Ed Spokesman Bob McGee said. “In the overhead areas, such as Queens, many roads are blocked by fallen trees or flooded. Restoration of electrical service to underground equipment demands cleaning all components of sea water, drying and testing to make it safe to restore power.”
Within the Borough, Zone A, which encompassed Far Rockaway, Broad Channel, Breezy point and Hunters Point, had suffered severe storm damage.
Directly after the storm subsided, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) toured Hunters Point in Long Island City to survey the affected areas.
In addition to making calls to City Agencies to report fallen trees, Van Bramer said he also asked Con Ed to make three high-rise condos in Long Island City a priority.
“The three condos I had called in were close to the shore,” Van Bramer said. “In each case, they house a large number of people who are suffering without heat and power.”
Van Bramer also noted that parts of Maspeth and Sunnyside had experienced electrical fires during Sandy, which are now posing as a potential life threat as the wires lay in the streets.
“We are urging people to not touch the wires,” McGee said. “Though they may appear dead, chances are they might be live.” In parts of Zone B, including Howard Beach and Hamilton Beach, intense flooding had sparked fires and caused electrical issues.
The previous record number of storm outages in Con Edison territory occurred last year, when Hurricane Irene caused about 203,000 customers to lose service – a number which Con Ed officials were amazed to surpass.
“The amount of customers affected was higher than we had ever anticipated,” McGee said. “We are working hard to restore steam generation and electricity. For the first time in our history, crews from as far as California are working with us.”
While much of the damage from fallen trees has been reported, Con Ed officials said that it is possible further overhead power lines could break.
“Many branches have broken off and are resting on power lines,” McGee said. “It is very important to keep in mind that as crews clean up these branches, more wires could fall.”
As for those driving through areas where street lights may be out, Con Ed said that as soon as power within each neighborhood is restored, the street lights would begin working as well.
Reach Reporter Megan Montalvo at (718) 357-7400 Ext. 128 or firstname.lastname@example.org.