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Watts the deal? Con Ed cuts power during heatwave

The Brooklyn Paper

Brownstone Brooklyn shvitzed its way through the summer’s first heat wave, thanks to service cuts by Con Ed.

On Wednesday, the fourth day of merciless furnace-like conditions, the utility was forced to slash service to Vinegar Hill, Fort Greene, Brooklyn Heights, Downtown, Red Hook, Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill and Cobble Hill, blaming overheated cables for the eight-percent voltage reduction it imposed.

According to the company, machinery and lights worked during a voltage reduction, or brownout — they just didn’t work as well or shine as bright.

Con Edison spokesman Alfonso Quiroz said that the power reduction was heat-related.

“The reason we’re doing this is to try to cool off the system to make repairs,” he said.

The energy giant also urged customers in affected areas to turn off appliances — air conditioners included — to reduce energy consumption during the hottest stretch of weather in the past decade.

Quiroz said that the crisis would have been worse, but customers have been “listening to our conservation message.”

But, he added ruefully, the demand for power seems only to increase.

“There are more people moving into Brooklyn now than ever before, and everyone comes armed with iPads, iPods, Blackberries, cameras, desktops, laptops, and flat-screen TVs,” he noted.

As crews worked to repair the problems, Mother Nature was poised to provide ample assistance in the form of cooler temps this weekend.

Joralemon Street resident Stephen Brown, 61, watched as Con Edison workers toiled on Wednesday, as temperatures approached 100 degrees for the third day in a row.

“I’m taking it slow,” Brown said. “It’s nice in May, and June and in July comes the hot weather. It’s a sign of what they refer to as ‘global weirdness.’ ”

Those looking to cool off flocked to public pools, including the Douglass-Degraw in Gowanus, which only a month ago was on the city budget chopping block. Cooling centers, such as the Carroll Gardens Library on Clinton Street off of Union Street, and the Park Slope Senior Center on Seventh Street off Seventh Avenue, also offered some measure of relief.

A heat wave is defined as at least three days in a row of temperatures of 90 or more, and temperatures in the borough reached the upper 90s on July 4. The city’s last week-long heat wave was in August 1998, and the longest ever was 12 miserable days from Aug. 24 to Sept. 4, 1953, according to the National Weather Service.

To find a cooling center in your area, go to the city Web site or call 311. To check Con Ed status online, go to www.conedison.com, or call (800) 752-6633.

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Bill W from Bay Ridge says:
Remember this when you think that electric cars are a good idea.
July 8, 2010, 9:51 pm

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