It’s not unusual for cables to break down in the summer, when temperatures rise past 90 degrees and people run air-conditioners round the clock. Cooling is the biggest energy drain in homes, my colleague Henry Fountain has reported. It accounted for about one-sixth of residential electricity use in 2019, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
“Intense heat, humidity and the resulting increase in the demand for power place stress on electric-delivery equipment,” Allan Drury, a Con Edison spokesman, said. “Our goal is to keep outages short in duration and geographically confined.”
The overheating of cables this week — which affected 96,000 customers in Bay Ridge, Fort Hamilton, Park Slope, Sunset Park, Dyker Heights, Borough Park and Gowanus — was the third time this month that the heat affected electricity delivery in the city. Last week, cables in parts of Queens and the Bronx also needed to be repaired, and residents there were also told to limit consumption.
“The equipment problems in these neighborhoods have no effect on the rest of the Con Edison system,” the company said in a statement on Thursday.
Last July, a power failure plunged the west side of Manhattan into darkness, stopping concerts, elevators and several subway lines for about five hours. The failure happened on the 42nd anniversary of the infamous blackout of 1977, and Con Edison said it was the result of “a significant electrical transmission disturbance.”
Just a week later, at least 50,000 customers were left without power in New York City and Westchester County on a dangerously hot day. Overhead lines had been in danger of overloading because of the heat. So, as a precaution, power was turned off to tens of thousands of customers so Con Edison could make repairs to “prevent a bigger outage,” Mr. de Blasio said on Twitter at the time.