Day after day of unrelenting heat last week strained parts of the city’s electrical grid. By Friday night, lights were flickering in Brevoort Houses. About 10am Saturday they went out completely in seven of Breevoort’s 26 buildings, including ironically the community center which was designated as the local cooling center.
According to Chris Olert, Con Edison spokesman, 210 residents were affected on the north side of the Brevoort Houses. “We had cables that failed — both high voltage and lower voltage cables,” said Olert. “We had to replace those on Fulton between Buffalo and Ralph.”
Con Ed provided regular updates throughout the day to Captain Perez from the 81st Precinct. “We have EMS on standby. We have coverage to touch base with the community and keep them informed,” said Captain Perez. “The situation is ongoing.” At one point, EMS was called to assist a 94-year-old woman in distress.
“We have no lights. The refrigerators are not working. The stoves are out. Microwaves are not working. The elevators are out in the area where the blackout occurred,” said Pansy Nettles, Resident Association President.
Across the street, 1896 Fulton Street and BNB Tax Preparer had power but right next door the pharmacy and Associated Supermarket did not.
“We have no lights since 12 noon. We got everybody out and closed all the refrigerators. It was impossible to serve customers for safety reasons,” said Danny, an employee at Associated Supermarket. “This is going to cost a whole lot of money. We have to wait until the insurance claims.”
Con Edison workers spent the day replacing conduits and putting new cables underground. By night fall, power was restored to all affected buildings. Con Edison continues to work on Fulton Street to replace underground conduits and cables.
Olert suggested that during extreme heat residents should use electricity wisely. “Every degree that you drop your air conditioner below 78 degrees, your electric bill goes up 6% which corresponds to increased demands on cables,” he said. “Fans use as little as 10% of the electricity of an air conditioner.”