Con Edison making repairs after manhole fires

Con Ed made repairs on Third Avenue following manhole fires on East 19th Street earlier this month. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Con Edison is making repairs on East 19th Street after a manhole fire in front of 151 East 19th Street on August 8 caused damage to the underground electrical system.

A resident of 201 East 19th Street resident told Town & Village this week that it sounded like an explosion on the street, along with black smoke and a power outage across the street from her apartment. She said that she didn’t lose power in her apartment, but noted that the lights did flicker.

Con Ed spokesperson Sidney Alvarez said that loss of power or damage to the underground equipment can sometimes create a loud clang but the incident was a manhole fire on the street and not an explosion.

“Sometimes this [kind of incident] could sound like an explosion and there could have been a lot of smoke that could look very severe to the general public,” Alvarez said. “We responded to multiple manhole fires at that location and there were no injuries reported and no property damage.”

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Con Edison: Manhattan blackout caused by substation malfunction

Buildings south of West 72nd Street were dark last Saturday night because of the outage. (Photo by Noah Gardy)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Con Edison announced last Monday that the cause of a blackout affecting more than 70,000 residents in Manhattan on Saturday, July 13 was due to a malfunction at the West 65th Street substation.

The outage, which occurred at 6:47 p.m., affected customers from West 30th Street to West 72nd Street between Fifth Avenue and the Hudson River. The six electrical networks that were affected were back in service shortly before midnight on Sunday.

Con Edison said that their inspection of equipment and review of the system data found that the relay protection system at the substation didn’t operate as designed. The relay protection system is designed to detect electric faults and directs circuit breakers to isolate and de-energize the faults but in the case of the outage, the systems did not isolate a faulted 13,000-volt distribution cable at West End Avenue and West 64th Street.

The utility had initially ruled out the 13,000-volt cable fault as the cause, believing that it was unrelated to the transmission disturbance.

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