QUEENS, N.Y. (PIX11)—Con Edison calls it a voltage reduction. Its customers call it a brownout. In any case, it is a controlled reduction of power for tens of thousands of homes in the Tri State area, thanks to Friday's record high temperatures.
In thirteen neighborhoods and towns, the utility says it has had to lower the voltage due to problems on electrical equipment.
Affected are 107,000 customers in Glendale, Fresh Pond, Ridgewood, Rego Park, Middle Village, Elmhurst and Woodside in in Central Queens, as well as 29,000 customers in the Westchester County towns of Elmsford, Greenburgh, Ardsley, Irvington and Tarrytown.
The controlled brownouts are an attempt to avoid an uncontrolled blackout, like the one in 2006 that affected one of the neighborhoods included in Friday's lower voltage situation, as well as neighborhoods adjacent to the current controlled brownout. Exactly five years ago this week in Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, and Woodside in Queens, some 200,000 customers lost power for more than a week. Con Ed said that overused and outdated electrical feeder cables were to blame.
Con Ed has since replaced some of that electrical supply infrastructure, but to prevent overuse, the utility is advising customers in the lower voltage areas to avoid using heavy load appliances like clothes dryers, washers and even air conditioners, despite Friday's triple digit temperatures. Con Ed also advises residents in the affected areas to keep lights and televisions off when they're not needed, until the problem is resolved. No word yet from the utility as to when that will be.
While the lower use recommendations are for the areas affected by the controlled brownouts, Con Ed advises everyone in the Tri State to follow them during the heatwave so as to ensure its entire 3.2 million-customer power grid continues to function with minimal interruptions in service.