NO END IN SIGHT FOR QUEENS, N.Y., BLACKOUT
By VERENA DOBNIK, Associated Press Writer Sat Jul 22, 4:13 PM ET
YORK - The damage to a utility's underground
network in the borough of Queens is greater than imagined — a twist in the six-day
power outage that could mean electricity won't be back until early in the week, the mayor said Saturday.
"It'll be done when it's
done," Mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters gathered in Queens' Astoria
Park, where the city's emergency command center for the blackout is set
To hasten the restoration
of power to as many as 20,000 customers, or about 80,000 people, electrical crews from as far away as Pittsburgh and Columbus,
Ohio, were on their way to New York to help, Bloomberg said.
Severe thunderstorms Friday
hindered efforts to repair the series of unexplained electrical failures and knocked out some repaired circuits, Bloomberg
Consolidated Edison crews "are going manhole to manhole, pulling up every line," the mayor said. As workers inspected
underground cables and transformers, they "found more damage than they thought they would find. They were surprised."
Power has been out for some
residents and businesses since Monday.
A series of heavy-duty circuits
supplying an area in northwest Queens failed Monday evening, hours after the state set a
record for electricity use. As temperatures rose to 100 degrees, more circuits failed Tuesday. The same happened Wednesday,
even after the heat wave broke and power demand plummeted.
Some residents found their
own solutions. One barber set up a generator on the street and cut hair on the sidewalk.
"It's very dark and you
can't really see inside," said Hair Fantasy owner Rocco Aliberti. "It's very bad. We try to do as much as we can do. I've
got to pay bills."
hasn't been able to explain why the power distribution system failed.
On Friday, Con Edison revealed
the failure was 10 times larger than it had previously reported. The utility had initially said only 2,000 customers were
affected, explaining that the earlier figure was based only on the number of people who called to complain.
The utility's acknowledgment
that more customers were affected drew a furious response from some residents and city leaders.
behavior has crossed the line from reprehensible to criminal," said Assemblyman Michael Gianaris, who called for an investigation.
spokesman Chris Olert said the company would "cooperate with everyone's inquiries."