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Con Ed: All Power Back On Following Midday Outage

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TWC News: Con Ed: All Power Back On Following Midday Outage
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Power on the Upper East Side and the Western Bronx was restored around 4:30 Wednesday afternoon, nearly an hour after widespread outages cut traffic lights and some train service throughout the area.

The Transit Authority says that the power dip affected the signals on the 4, 5, 6, D, E and V trains in the Bronx and Manhattan.

"When we lost power, we lose power to the signals, so the signals go black," explained Charles Seaton of the MTA. "So what we do is we still have electricity for moving the trains and for air conditioning, so we're able to move the trains into the nearest stations but, because we have no signals, we cannot operate normally."

Service returned around 4:40 p.m. but extensive delays continued throughout the evening rush.

"We've been waiting," said one commuter. "Three buses have gone by packed, packed, packed. And you've still got people at the bus stop waiting."

"I got on the Number 6 train and sat and sat and sat," said another.

Metro-North also reported a dip in service in Manhattan and the Bronx, but service was restored and is running normally. LIRR was not affected by the outages.

Inside buildings, elevators, lights, and air conditioning shut down — forcing people to evacuate.

"I was upstairs curling my hair and I saw the lights going back and forth, back and forth and then off," said one area resident. "Then the air conditioner went off, fan went off, television went off, and that's it. I got my flashlight and came downstairs."

The Bronx district attorney had to close down the courthouse and the Metropolitan Museum of Art also had to evacuate.

Con Ed says that about 385,000 people throughout the West Bronx and the Upper East Side were left without power around 3:40 p.m.

In the West Bronx, approximately 57,900 customers between the Harlem River, 174th Street and 144th Street and Park Avenue were affected.

In Manhattan, approximately 78,800 customers between Fifth Avenue and the East River, from 77th to 110th Streets were without power. Randall's Island also was affected.

A Con Ed spokesman says the cause of the outage is still under investigation. However, he says the utility is confident that the problem, which started at a transmission substation in Astoria, was not a result of the high demand for electricity.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg praised the utility's quick response in restoring power.

He also took time to plug his PlaNYC environmental initiative, saying that going green would reduce pollution and demands on the system — especially during the summer months when more people use more power.

"The generation we need to change because we're polluting our air, the distribution because that's what's failing here in the summers," said the mayor. "We just don't have enough distribution in this city when people are using more and more power, and it's going to be a long term thing."

The mayor said the city implemented its emergency plans right away.

Con Ed also reported outages in southwest Queens Wednesday night. The utility says about 6,700 customers were without power.

Last night, several hundred customers in the Bronx and Brooklyn lost power. Con Ed says a feeder cable caught fire, possibly due to the heat.

Con Ed has spent millions upgrading its system following last year's blackout in Queens when thousands lost power for up to ten days.

Meanwhile, heat and ozone advisories were in effect for the city Wednesday.

With the heat advisory in effect, people are advised to avoid strenuous activity outside. Doctors also advise that people drink eight glasses of water a day and stay out of the sun to avoid heat stroke and dehydration.

The elderly and those with chronic illnesses are most at risk and so they should be checked throughout the day.

There was also an ozone advisory, meaning anyone with breathing problems should stay indoors.
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