It’s the first hot spell of the year here in NYC, which means it’s blackout time! 136,000+ customers = roughly 500,000 people. This sort of thing didn’t happen when I was growing up, but the power grid was 20 years younger then. And now?
Many will recall the 10-day power outage in Queens last summer. On Aug. 2, the day after the Queens incident was resolved, Con Ed pumped its all-time highest power send-out of 277,417 megawatts. According to the utility, it delivers 20 percent more power than it did 10 years ago and demand grows 1 percent to 1.5 percent each year. To keep up, Con Ed has invested $1.4 billion this year in reinforcing the electrical system in preparation for summer, says Con Ed spokesperson Chris Olert.
Still, the possibility of blackouts and brownouts this summer remains. “A summer power outage is enough of a possibility that Wall Street firms should make sure to be prepared,” warns Neil Katkov, research director at Celent.
“We are very concerned,” adds Tesh Durvasula, COO and EVP of NYC-Connect, a collocation facility in the Chelsea section of Manhattan that hosts servers for a dozen Wall Street firms. “It’s getting worse every year,” he says. “Now the grids are in such high use that we’re seeing surges in the grid on a weekly basis.” Durvasula explains that he tracks the surges with monitoring equipment in NYC-Connect’s facility…
Even Con Ed agrees that New York’s energy grid needs new sources of energy generation. But it’s politically unpopular to discuss putting a power plant in New York City, points out Con Ed’s Olert. “Someone at some point is going to have to make a political decision and say we’re putting it on the Crosman compound,” he says, jokingly equating this writer’s small Westchester apartment with one of the sprawling tracts of land the Rockefeller family donated to New York.
Yeah, “someone” is. How odd it is that America’s political savior, who’s going to heal the lepers and our partisan political divisions through the sheer might of his management skill and “vision,” hasn’t had the vision needed to address this glaring problem that’s been right under his nose during his five years in office.
As I write this, MSNBC is reporting that Con Edison, the local power company, is blaming the outage on a lightning strike — but then, Con Ed also initially said last year during the Queens nightmare that your humble correspondent was fortunate enough to participate in that only a few thousand customers were affected. Turns out it was more like 100,000. On and on it stretched, with no explanations. The local ice cream place, among other businesses, went belly up because of it and still hasn’t been replaced almost a year later. The City Council ended up holding public hearings, televised here locally, the centerpiece of which was the CEO of Con Ed being grilled to a golden brown to the great delight of Queens residents. Two months ago, the New York State Public Service Commission voted essentially to put Con Ed “on trial” for the outage. And what did the man appointed by the media as the new America’s Mayor have to say when this was all going down last July?
“It’ll be done when it’s done.”
“From what I can see, what happened to Con Ed was not deliberate,’’ he said. “It is a company that has a national reputation as a very good utility that provides a very reliable service in the context of 8.1 million people in a very difficult underground environment.’’
And my favorite, of the CEO himself:
“I think Kevin Burke deserves a thanks from this city.”
We’ll see what kind of thanks he gets today from those people evacuated from their stalled, oven-like subway cars.
Why mention this very local issue that no one cares about, especially now that the power’s been restored? Partly because our moron media is in love with Bloomberg right now because he’s their ideal candidate: a Democrat with who pretends he’s too “maverick” and free-thinkin’ for our corrupt partisan mindset. But also partly because I want to take advantage of the news peg to make sure everyone realizes that the problem’s big, that it was foreseeable, and that not only hasn’t the Messiah done enough to address it, but when it happened he had plenty of sympathy for his CEO crony pal but not so much for Queens residents. Bryan, I encourage you to remind people of this post when you take over the blogging duties this summer after I’m knocked offline again. Which I will be.