Power outages are becoming a common Saturday event this winter in the northeast Bronx.
Several hundred homes in Edgewater Park and Throggs Neck lost power on the night of Saturday, February 26, the third time in as many weeks residents of the local neighborhoods had to deal with an outage.
This week’s outage lasted about four hours between 7 and 11 p.m. and affected Con Edison customers between Sampson Avenue, Schurz Avenue, Dock Street and Balcome Avenue. Councilman James Vacca sees the trend of outages as more than a coincidence.
“I mean this is three outages on three weekends in a row,” Vacca said. “All of them on Saturdays, the first in and out of Silver Beach, the second on Dudley and Waterbury on E. Tremont Avenue and now all of these streets. I hope we have no blackout this weekend. I am at a loss to see how this happened and they certainly would expect an explanation.”
Rolando Infante, Bronx public affairs manager for Con Ed, said that high winds were most likely the cause.
“It was probably a downed wire,” Infante said. “We did find a downed primary wire on Pennyfield Avenue, due to the strong winds, and our above-ground system. This outage was, in all likelihood, weather-related.”
The winds in Edgewater Park reached speeds of up to 60 miles per hour on Saturday evening, but Infante said the area is no more likely than any other in the Bronx to have an outage, despite the fact that is it so close to the Long Island Sound.
“Winds could affect any part of our system a any time,” Infante said. “Case in point if you remember the March 2010 storm, Pelham Parkway received the brunt of that system and Throgs Neck did sustain issues, but you can’t say one part of he borough geographically is predisposed to high winds. Weather is unpredictable.”
While Throggs Neck and Edgewater Park have mainly above-ground power lines, Infante did not see that as an issue either, saying that below-ground lines are also susceptible to weather issues, with snow and rock salt that is used to de-ice roads can also affect the lines.
Con Ed relies both on internal monitoring and customer feedback to know when an area loses power and its main priority, he said, is with customers who rely on electricity to stay alive, like those who use respirators and life-support machines.
“We have a system of identifying sensitive customers and customers with life-sustaining equipment,” Infante said. “And a priority is placed on having an alternate system in place for those customers.”
Infante also pointed out that parts of Riverdale and central Bronx had outages on Saturday.