Power Goes Out, Very Briefly, in New York City

A momentary power outage caused lights to flicker across most of New York City late Thursday night, the authorities said, followed by what witnesses described as an explosion and rising smoke at an electrical substation in Brooklyn.

Con Edison, the electricity, gas and steam utility that services 10 million people in New York City and Westchester County, said that a piece of high-voltage electric equipment had short-circuited, causing a large flash at a substation near the Manhattan Bridge on the East River at 11:55 p.m.

Matthew Ketschke, the president of the utility, told reporters early Friday that a protective system was activated to isolate that piece of failed equipment, leading to a brief voltage dip that caused the lights across the city to flicker for about a second.

“Probably most of New York City saw this,” he said, adding that people in the neighboring regions might have experienced the flicker, too, because Con Edison is linked to the broader electrical network.

“The electrical system for all of, really, North America is interconnected,” he continued. “So the power that flows here is also interconnected to systems that serve Long Island, Westchester County and New Jersey.”

Con Edison said in a statement early Friday that the power outage had been caused by a “fault on a high-tension transmission line,” and that crews were investigating what had exactly caused the short-circuit. It said there had been no disruption of service, aside from the brief outage.

Before the outage, Con Edison employees were restoring a transmission line at the substation, a spokesperson for the New York Police Department said, citing the results of a preliminary investigation.

The disruption caused “a citywide power surge,” but there were no reports of injuries, criminal activity or other disruptions to any services, the spokesperson said by telephone.

The New York Fire Department said that firefighters were responding to power outages and stuck elevators at locations across the city early Friday.

All elevators and escalators at Grand Central Station were out of service for some time, according to a statement from Long Island Rail Road, the rail system that stretches from Manhattan to the eastern tip of Suffolk County on Long Island.

Elevator rescues took place at about 10 locations in the city as a result of the outage, Mr. Ketschke said. Some electrical equipment for elevators and escalators are sensitive to momentary fluctuations of power, he said, and need to be reset.

Witnesses with a view of the substation described the lights in their apartments as quickly blinking twice, followed by the explosion at the substation. People shared their accounts of the outage and the blast on social media.

“The lights flickered twice briefly,” Sean Scott, 30, a software engineer who was at home in Manhattan, said by telephone. “I looked outside and I saw some streetlights flickering.”

“Then I felt a soft boom and saw a fireball and I saw the smoke,” added Mr. Scott, who said he had a view of most of Brooklyn from his apartment.

Anna Di, 32, a chiropractor in Manhattan, described the explosion as an “orange glow” that disappeared within seconds, leaving gray smoke that rose from the substation.

“It was just shocking to see this ball of fire across the water,” she said by telephone.


News7g: Update the world's latest breaking news online of the day, breaking news, politics, society today, international mainstream news .Updated news 24/7: Entertainment, the World everyday world. Hot news, images, video clips that are updated quickly and reliably

Related Articles

Back to top button