Brooklyn, NY– State Senator Andrew Gounardes called for state hearings on the reliability of New York City’s power grid today following a blackout in Brooklyn affecting 33,000 customers, including many in his district. Some residents in Marine Park and other neighborhoods were without power for days at the height of the summer heat. The State Senator urged that hearings be held promptly and feature representatives from Con Edison, National Grid and the Public Service Commission.
Since the mid 1960s, the frequency of heat waves has increased and the number of heat waves is only projected to rise. The weekend’s heat wave caused record demand, straining the grid and causing reliance on outdated and polluting “peaker plants.” Aging and interconnected infrastructure has increased the grid’s vulnerability to outages.
In the midst of these stressors, National Grid has ceased processing new applications for service to convert from oil to natural gas, hamstringing businesses and residents alike. The combination of challenges demonstrates the need for hearings to delve deeply into the current status and future opportunities for New York’s grid.
“What happened in southeastern Brooklyn from Sunday through Tuesday is the predictable result of strain on the grid coupled with a failure to prepare. Today, I call for a series of hearings to illuminate not just what happened in this blackout but how we can move to a safer, more reliable 21st Century grid where people aren’t regularly plunged into darkness on the hottest nights of the year or denied service for basic energy needs,” said State Senator Andrew Gounardes. “People in my community want answers, but more than that, they want solutions. We must take steps towards a city where every person can rest assured that the power they rely on will work. These hearings can serve as an essential step.”