Power restored to all customers following massive outage in Manhattan

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Sunday, July 14, 2019
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Kemberly Richardson has the latest details.

UPPER WEST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- Power was restored to all customers following a massive blackout on the West Side of Manhattan Saturday night, and an investigation into the outage is now underway.

The loss of power stretched from 5th Avenue to Hudson River, and around 30th-72nd Streets starting shortly before 7:00 p.m, and about 72,000 customers were affected. All had their power back by about midnight.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was campaigning in Iowa, spoke with Eyewitness News on the phone, and reported that based on information from officials that there was a mechanical problem on a transmission line between two ConEd substations.

Con Edison CEO John McAvoy said a total of 6 networks went down. A computer at a main feeder station located on 49th Street triggered a precautionary shut down of the networks.

McAvoy says the problem did not appear to be excessive load. The utility will conduct an investigation into the cause of the equipment failures.

"Over the next several days and weeks, our engineers and planners will carefully examine the data and equipment performance relating to this event, and will share our findings with regulators and the public," Con Ed said in a statement.

At a news conference Sunday, de Blasio said there were no indications that a cyber attack or terrorism were involved in the outage.

"We as in every situation are going to fully analyze every detail, working with Con Edison and all pertinent city agencies," said the mayor. "We're going to work closely with Con Edison to figure out exactly what happened, exactly how we can make sure it does not happen again."

De Blasio was asked about being on the presidential campaign trail in Iowa amid the blackout, and his decision on when to return.

"When I heard about the incident I was waiting to understand exactly what was going on so I could make that decision," he said. "Also unfortunately on a Saturday evening, it's a very long trip back so I wasn't going to be here immediately under any circumstance. The most important thing was to get a clear picture of what was going on, was it going to be immediately resolved or not. Once it was clear it was not going to be immediately resolved, I started back immediately."

Lincoln Center, Columbus Circle and some Broadway theaters were among the many locations impacted.

The outage knocked out traffic lights across the area.

NYPD was directing traffic at intersections with dark traffic lights. Governor Andrew Cuomo sent State Police and National Guards to help patrol the streets throughout the night.

In addition, all lanes of West 42nd Street to West 71st Street between the Hudson River to 5th Avenue were closed in both directions.

The MTA says outages were reported at subway stations throughout Manhattan, but service continued.

Mount Sinai West lost power and switched to backup generator power. They had no AC power and no elevator service.

The Parks Department in Manhattan lost all power too. So did WABC-TV, but the station remained on the air thanks to back-up generators.

FDNY call volume in Manhattan jumped dramatically within the first few hours of the blackout.

When the lights went out, the FDNY responded to about 1,000 calls in Manhattan alone. Approximately 750 of those calls were related to elevators and automatic alarms

The FDNY says they had numerous elevators stuck around the Upper West Side. Officials planned to check all buildings to make sure no one else was stuck as power came back.

There were no reports of injuries.

The mayor commended New Yorkers for handling the power outage "with that trademark NYC grit and toughness" in a tweet.


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