City Island residents are calling on Con Edison to update its power delivery system after the island was battered with four blackouts within two weeks.
The City Island Civic Association has been calling on Con Edison to improve the infrastructure that supplies power to the somewhat isolated community for several years, and one of its board members who passed away recently, John “Jay” Sinclair, was in the process of arranging a meeting with the state Public Service Commission and Con Edison to discuss the matter.
The four outages in a two-week period blacked out between 498 to 1,118 customers at different points during outages on Monday, July 16, Wednesday, July 18, Monday, July 24, and Thursday, July 26. Some island residents and businesses have said that it may be time to look at improvements to Con Edison’s infrastructures.
There are currently four different feeders supplying City Island with power from five substations, three of which are in the Bronx and two from Westchester, said Con Edison spokeswoman Sara Banda. The current configuration of power lines reaching the island at four separate locations has been in place for more than 40 years, said Banda.
“City Island has been serviced in its current four feeder supply configuration since May 1969,” said Banda. “Over the years we have upgraded to newer technology and larger cable sizes to accommodate customer demands, but the basic configuration has remained the same.”
One of the island residents who feel it may be time for Con Edison to upgrade their service to the island is City Island Civic Association second vice-president Barbara Dolensek. “It is interesting that it has not changed since 1969,” said Dolensek. “Since there is something basic wrong with the system, we feel that they are obliged to fix that even if it may mean reconfiguring the system. This is especially true since there are three new housing developments with nearly 150 units that are in the planning stage.”
After speaking to Con Edison employees working to repair one of the outages, Dolensek was part of the island was in a “weak loop.” The “weak loop” was described by a person working for Con Edison who spoke on the condition of anonymity as an area on the west side of the island from around Bowne Street south to Pilot Street, said Dolensek.
“There may be plenty of power, but the way it gets here to City Island and what happens once it is here is not adequate,” said Dolensek, adding that she believes power service has gotten worse in the past few years.
City Island Civic Association president Bill Stanton drew an analogy to the date of the configuration. He said sticking to a configuration designed in 1969, despite any updating, was like comparing a classroom where students and teachers used a blackboard to communicate with each other in 1969 to one where I-Pads are used today. He also noted that he believes that because of technological advances, the average household today on City Island and elsewhere consumes more and more power.
Sammy’s Fish Box and Sammy’s Shrimp Box manager Joe Valenti said that generators have been ordered for those restaurants, and that he has personally observed that power service on the island was often more spotty than in the rest of the Bronx, especially around Belden Point, close to where those restaurants are located.
Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 742-3393