Is NYC A Blackout Waiting To Happen?


con-edThe message when it comes to blackouts in the midst of this summer sizzler: The worst is yet to come. That’s the bad news. The good news is? It’s something everyone can help prevent.

At the beginning of a week-long heat wave, Steve Sim, owner of Step by Step hardware in Queens, is hoping the lights will stay on so he won’t lose any business.

“I am nervous,” Sim said. “Not too confident with Con Ed after the last blackout, they talked about upgrades, but I don’t see anybody working.”

Four years ago, 174,000 people across Queens lost power for a week when Con Edison equipment failed.

“I couldn’t keep full hours because of the electric,” said Sim. “I was keeping half time hours.”

Assemblyman Michael Gianaris says another blackout could easily rock New York.

“The investment in infrastructure was terribly inadequate,” he said. “They were spending millions on executives, increasing dividends to shareholders, but one of the places they were not spending money was improving the wires underground.”

Con Edison’s response? Wrong, they said.

“With any heat wave you can have power outages,” said a Con Ed spokesperson.

According to ConEd, New Yorkers should make an effort to close curtains and blinds, as sunlight can make a room much warmer. Additionally, turn off appliances when they are not in use and try to use large appliances only at night – when it’s cooler, and there’s a lower demand for power.

ConEd also advises to keep the thermostat set to 78 degrees.

{CBS/Noam Newscenter}