City Island residents and many businesses were out of power and peace-of-mind last month as the island community was hit with four unplanned power outages in less than two weeks.
Outages that lasted for up to six hours took out between 639 to 1,118 customers on the island on Monday, July 16, about 770 customers on Wednesday, July 18, 498 customers on Monday, July 24, and about 700 on Thursday, July 26.
Three of the outages happened in the afternoon and lasted from two to six hours, affected residents and businesses, as well as Con Edison’s own on-line power outage map, reported. The fourth outage was relatively brief, lasting no longer than five minutes.
The same feeder line covering an area on the west side of the island and south of Centre Street appeared to be out on both July 16 and July 18, residents said.
Restaurants including Sammy’s Fish Box and Sammy’s Shrimp Box were blacked out for hours the first three times.
Residents at Pilot Cove Manor senior residence at 190 Pilot Street lost their power – and air conditioning – in their apartments in the July 16 and 18 outages, said manager Virginia Gallagher, who added that a backup generator was able to restore power for the hallway lights and elevators.
One male resident was taken to the hospital, she said.
Councilman Jimmy Vacca visited seniors there during the July 16 outage.
“It is unacceptable to have anyone on City Island blacked-out, but especially those who are most vulnerable,” said Vacca. “Occasionally, there are extenuating circumstances that cause a black-out to occur, but three outages in two weeks in unacceptable.”
Con Edison spokesman Allan Drury said a passing thunderstorm caused the July 18th outage, while downed power lines on Centre Street caused by a bent pole, and tree contact, caused the July 24 outage. As of press time, the cause of the July 16 outage was still under investigation.
Drury dismissed the idea that the three-week old lockout of 8,000 maintenance workers part of Local 1-2 of the Utility Workers Union of America affected Con Ed’s ability to respond.
He said its ability to make quick repairs in the middle of a labor dispute was a testament to its planning and managers.
Sammy’s Fish Box and Shrimp Box responded to the repeated outages by renting generators -just in case, said manager Joe Valenti. “This is something we will be concerned about for the rest of the summer.”
With its cash register knocked out, Crab Shanty restaurant manager Robert Howard was manually ringing up customers receipts before power came back after three hours on July 18.
The July outage hit as the restaurant was hosting a party for a senior citizens group, and some customers had to be turned away, he said.
“We ordered a lot of ice to keep everything fresh. We feel a little cheated by Con Edison,” he added. God forbid you don’t pay their bills for a month. But they don’t worry about our bills,” said Howard.
Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 742-3393