Post Hurricane Sandy, an influx of electricity workers from various parts of the country came to the New York/New Jersey area to help in the recovery process and to restore power in the region to nearly 10 million people left in the dark. Sandy caused massive flooding of power substations and corrosion of key electrical systems which took power down in some areas for weeks. During that unforgettable time, there were not enough licensed electricians to handle the devastation. Despite many good intentions by electricians and contractors, there was a lack of inspections needed to double check repair work since focus was predominantly on trying to get customers and businesses powered up and running again. Just 8 months later, the efforts to get things back to some semblance of normalcy, after the second costliest hurricane in the U.S. behind Katrina, may be starting to unravel in some hard-hit areas. That could spell further power problems in the tri-state area this summer.
With kids now home from school for the summer, pool filters running, some high winds and the air conditioner blasting to cool us off from a recent heat wave, the additional strain on the power grid has exposed just how bad some areas still may be after Sandy. In early June, over 540 customers from the Bronx lost power. Putnam County had 1,615 homes without power last week. The Long Island area of New York recently had 1,500 customers without power over the weekend. The same could be said for 4,200 Staten Islanders who were without electricity this past holiday weekend and told by utility company Con Edison that reduced power voltage would be in effect to lower the burden on the area’s power grid after the utility giant hit new peak usage record of 11,241 megawatts for a Sunday.
The diversity of recent power outages thus far this summer has me fearful we may see an increased number of customers without the lights on and perhaps even a massive blackout similar to what the area witnessed back in August of 2003. I sure hope I’m wrong. One thing is for certain, utility companies may need to go back and spend extra money to recheck much of the post Sandy work to ensure reliable power service to the area. That may become a real headache for local residents and an unexpected hit to earnings for utilities.
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