Con Edison working to restore power after Manhattan blackout leaves more than 70,000 in the dark

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A blackout affects buildings in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S, July 13, 2019.

Maria Caspani | Maria Caspani

Con Edison said it was working to restore power to large sections of Manhattan after a major blackout left more than 70,000 customers in the dark Saturday.

The utility company said at 10:35 p.m. ET that it had about 9,700 customers left without power. Most customers are expected to have power restored at midnight.

No injuries occurred as a result of the blackout, according to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The power outage was apparently caused by a transformer fire at 54th Street and West End Avenue, a senior city official with direct knowledge of the matter told NBC News.

New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said he spoke with the CEO of Con Edison and there was a “major disturbance” at the West 49th Street substation. A full emergency response was mobilized, Johnson said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the power failures were due to a manhole fire earlier Saturday evening. He said NYC Emergency Management, NYPD and the FDNY were all responding to the outages.

Governor Cuomo said he has directed the Department of Public Service to investigate and “identify the exact cause of the outages.”

The New York City Fire Department had units on the scene and was handling calls to assist people stuck in elevators.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority said it had received reports of outages in subway station complexes throughout Manhattan and was working to keep trains moving.

Due to the outages, subway service was limited into Manhattan from Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. The A,C,D,F and M lines were disrupted. The MTA was encouraging customers to avoid below-ground stations.

Four stations were without power and closed to the public: 59-St. Columbus Circle, 47-50 Sts.-Rockefeller Center, 34 St.-Hudson Yards and 5 Avenue/53 St. The MTA, however, emphasized that the entire subway system was affected by the outage and encouraged people in Manhattan to take the bus.

Times Square was hit by the blackout. Due to the outage, Saturday’s performance of the hit musical Hamilton was cancelled.

Here is Governor Cuomo’s full statement on the blackout:

Earlier this evening, a widespread blackout occurred as the result an issue with a transmission line in midtown Manhattan and part of the Upper West Side, leaving approximately 45,000 customers without power. The power outages disrupted subway service on the A, C, D, F and M lines. However, no passengers are stranded on trains or in MTA elevators and there are no reports of injuries at this time.

I have directed the State Police, the MTA and the Public Service Commission to deploy personnel and resources to aggressively respond to this incident and work to restore power as soon as possible. We are in constant communication with Con Ed, who has an effort underway to begin restoration of power by midnight tonight.

While fortunately no injuries occurred as a result of this incident, the fact that it happened at all is unacceptable. I am directing the Department of Public Service to investigate and identify the exact cause of the outages to help prevent an incident of this magnitude from happening again. Until the recovery is complete, we will continue to take all necessary actions to ensure the safety and security of New Yorkers.

Source: CNBC

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