Widespread power outages hit Upper Manhattan, Queens; de Blasio says lightning strike to blame

1010 WINS Newsroom
August 07, 2020 - 11:00 am
Power outage Manhattan

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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) – Power was restored to Upper Manhattan on Friday morning after a brief outage put a swath of neighborhoods in the dark, officials said. Another large outage was reported in Queens about an hour later as tens of thousands of other customers remained without power across the city in the wake of Isaias.

The first power outage began around 5:15 a.m., affecting the Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Harlem and Hamilton Heights.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said later in the day that a lightning strike was the cause of the outage.

About 180,000 customers customers were without power for 28 minutes in Manhattan, according to Con Edison.

Con Edison said three networks in Harlem, Central Park and Lenox Hill went down but were back up by 6 a.m.

In a statement on the "brief service interruption," Con Edison said: "We are investigating a problem on our transmission system that caused three networks in Manhattan to lose their electric supply at about 5:13 this morning. The supply has been restored to those networks on the Upper West Side, Harlem and the Upper East Side."

The utility said scattered outages should be expected in parts of Manhattan as service returned.

The outage also impacted the subway, with disruptions reported on the 1, 2, 3, A, B, C, D, E, F, N, Q, R and W lines.

Metro-North was briefly affected as well before service returned to normal.

About an hour after the first outage in Manhattan, another Con Edison outage in the Middle Village and Woodside neighborhoods of Queens hit around 6:30 a.m. Between 5,000 and 10,000 customers were impacted in the area, according to officials.

The LIRR said it was experiencing systemwide delays of 15 to 20 minutes "due to an earlier temporary loss of signal power near Jamaica."

Council Speaker Corey Johnson said power had been restored to Middle Village and Woodside by 9 a.m., however there were still reports of scattered outages in the area.

The outages come as about 1 million customers remain without power across the Tri-State because of Tropical Storm Isaias' impact on Tuesday, including tens of thousands of people in the five boroughs.

At his daily briefing Friday, Mayor de Blasio said the early morning outage in Manhattan impacted over 100,000 customers and that it “appears to have been weather-related, from weather activity last night.”

“All of those customers have been restored, so that was a very brief outage,” de Blasio said.

However, the mayor called the ongoing outages from Tropical Storm Isaias “unacceptable,” saying there’s been a “lack of clarity” from Con Edison.

“Con Ed continues to be unclear in their response. And this is something we’ve seen before, and I really wish Con Ed would get the memo that they have to be clearer in their game plan for New Yorkers. People are depending on this power,” de Blasio said. “The power has come back on consistently. I want to give that credit. But what I’m not happy about is a lack of clarity and speed about the next steps for the people of the five boroughs.”

The mayor said about 57,000 households in New York City didn’t have power Friday as a result of Isaias.

“From the latest we’ve heard from Con Ed, they are still sticking to the notion they will add another 15,000 to 20,000 restorations today,” de Blasio said. “I want to see that number greatly intensify. Telling people ‘by the end of Sunday’ is not a good answer. We need to see that speed up, certainly for the vast majority of households. And we’ll keep Con Ed’s feet to the fire. And we have urged them to move faster but also offered whatever help they need.”

At his briefing, de Blasio also said the wind damage from Isaias was “the worst wind damage since Sandy” and he called on the state to authorize an emergency declaration.

“Given what’s happened in New York City, given what’s happened on Long Island, this certainly should be a state of emergency,” de Blasio said. “That would help us to activate FEMA support and funding.”

De Blasio said the funding would be needed to help with the cost of the cleanup in the city. He said there were over 1,000 city, state, National Guard and private contractors working to clear tree damage, including workers from the Parks Department, Sanitation Department and Department of Environmental Protection.