Saturday, August 27, 2011

Con Ed’s Decision on Shutdown Likely Sunday Morning

Wall Street Journal

Power could be shut off in Lower Manhattan — specifically hitting Wall Street — as a precaution against storm surges as Hurricane Irene strikes, authorities said. A final decision will likely come Sunday morning.
Consolidated Edison Co., the power company for about 3.3 million buildings, homes and businesses in the New York City area, estimated Saturday afternoon that 6,500 downtown customers, all south of the Brooklyn Bridge, could face a preemptive shutdown as early as Sunday morning.
John Miksad, Con Edison’s senior vice president of electric operations, said the utility is particularly concerned about the financial industry and has reached out to Wall Street firms about the potential shutdown.
“The New York Stock Exchange, and all the exchanges, have power generation on site that they could run,” he said. “We’ve actually reached out to them to sort of get a better understanding of what else we could do to support that. And, again, all of this is worst-case scenario, assuming the storm and the tides align (and) we need to make that decision.”
Con Ed has already made the decision to turn off part of the city’s underground steam system, a move that affects 50 customers along 10 miles out of the 110-mile network. These customers, most living downtown, would lose hot water as a result.
As for the 6,500 customers most in danger of a preemptive power shutdown, Mr. Miksad predicted a decision on that front would be made around 8 a.m. Sunday.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, at a news conference Saturday, said people in Lower Manhattan should expect to have their power turned off.

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