Watts the deal?

The Brooklyn Paper
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Five days after the summer’s first heat wave came to a merciful end, parts of southern Brooklyn were still being scorched by Con Ed.

On Sunday night, the energy giant issued an advisory to 27,000 residents of Coney Island, Sea Gate, Manhattan Beach and Gravesend, urging customers to turn off non-essential appliances and slashing service to the neighborhoods by five percent.

The service cuts were the fourth in the borough since the heat wave began on July 4 — the most of any borough in the city.

Con Ed officials could not explain why Brooklyn was affected more than any other borough, chalking it up to mere chance.

“The voltage reductions were put in place to avoid a more widespread problem,” said company spokesman Allan Drury.

He insisted that the advisory does not mean that the company wants all their customers to turn off their air conditioners. “We certainly don’t want anyone to do anything to jeopardize their health and well-being,” he said. But healthy adults should turn down or shut off their air conditioners, Drury advised.

He said problems were most likely caused by the extreme heat — it reached 103 degrees last Tuesday — which affected power cables and fuses.

“Our goal was to restore power to customers as soon as possible,” he said.

By late Monday, full power was indeed restored to southern Brooklyn.

Last week, the utility cut service to Vinegar Hill, Fort Greene, Brooklyn Heights, Downtown, Red Hook, Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill and Cobble Hill, blaming overheated cables for an eight-percent voltage reduction.

Drury credited customers’ conservation for not making the problem worse. “Our system held up well,” he reported.

Sea Gate resident Jeanne Rice said she appreciated the automated message Con Ed issued to notify residents of the service cuts.

“I’m generally very satisfied with what Con Ed has done, considering the magnitude of the heat wave,” she said. “It’s the first time I can issue accolades to Con Ed instead of cursing them.”

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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