Back in June, State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. held a virtual meeting with members of Con Edison to address some recent power outages in areas throughout his district, especially in communities like Howard Beach, Ozone Park and Middle Village.
According to ConEd’s numbers, Howard Beach suffered outages on April 21 and April 30 that left 600 customers without power each time, and again on May 1, where 200 customers lost power. Ozone Park had an outage on May 9 that affected 1,400 customers, while Middle Village has seen 19 outages since 2012 that interrupted service for nearly 9,000 customers. Issues including transformer fires, blown fuses, defective underground cables, and downed trees have caused these outages, ConEd explained.
“I understand that bad storms have the ability to cause power outages, and with climate change severe storms are becoming more powerful, but the frequency and duration of these outages are unacceptable,” Addabbo said. “My constituents should not have to worry that their power will go out every time there is a storm. Our electrical grid should be able to handle these storms and provide power to customers when they need it the most.”
Although there have been issues, ConEd informed the Senator of the work they have done in the past, as well as their current and future plans to ensure that customers do not lose power.
In the Howard Beach and Ozone Park areas, ConEd has already invested $2 million in upgrades to feeder conductors, transformers, and underground cables, while also installing storm-hardened fuses and switches. In preparation for Summer 2021, ConEd told Addabbo that they have invested an additional $150,000 for feeder conductor and transformer upgrades, and have created Summer Preparation Training and Heat Drills for employees.
When it comes to the Middle Village area, ConEd told Addabbo that an area from 75th Place to 77th Street between Furmanville Avenue and 66th Road will be part of an Undergrounding Pilot Program.
This program aims to remove three overhead transformers, 11 spans of overhead primary wires and 28 spans of overhead secondary wires. This initiative would bring the power for 152 customers underground, alleviating issues with the high tree density on Juniper Valley Road that have caused outages in the past.
“I will continue to monitor ConEd’s progress on these projects, as well as any issues raised from my constituents when it comes to power outages,” Addabbo added. “Updating infrastructure and finding new ways to protect customers is one of ConEd’s strengths, and I look forward to working with them going forward to ensure that the people across my district are not left in the dark for hours after a storm.”