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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Get Those Candles Ready!

Check out the chart accompanying this story in yesterday's Times about the state Public Service Commission's evaluation of last summer's blackout in Queens. Turns out the northwest Bronx has the most vulnerable electricity network of any area of the city.


  1. Thanks for sharing this, Jordan. Any ideas on what these geographic regions are? What do they mean by "West Bronx"?

    Is it really surprising though? Another example of us ranking tops in the city in a dubious category...

  2. "Yes. I bought a hardcopy version of this article in with me today from yesterday's Times. Brooklyn doesn't fare too well either, including a few upscale or up and coming hoods (e.g. Park Slope, Williamsburg)." - Joe

    "It won't surprise you Joe that I could care less if Park Slope has electricity or not. Can't the gentry in Brooklyn include a back-up generator or a windmill in their rehabs?? We took a terrible beating from Con Ed last summer and it got very little coverage or assistance from city government or anyone else. Decatur Avenue was treated like a third world country with the cops positioned up the hill afraid to go down 'cause their were no streetlights. And to top it off, a power surge burned out my TV." - John

    "Funny, When we lived in Park Slope in the early 80's, not too far from Joe's old home I believe, Barry Commoner was talking about creating little co-generation plants in each building. It was a conference in the old dutch church on 7th Avenue and it seems that the typical 16 unit brooklyn tenement..there are a few amid the brownstones....could get its heat and electricity from a four cylinder Fiat engine appropriately modified....
    I guess growing the food coop and testing the rcycling of food waste in little celophane baggies was more importatant. They might have chosen differently if they had known.
    On a serious note Con Ed cannot provide good service to several of Montefiore's community health centers. It takes a little more juice to power one of them than it does a candy store and we loose power all the time." - Dart

    "With all of this in mind, you would think that Con Ed. might encourage roof top photovoltaic by allowing us to feed the grid so that these relatively expensive systems could operate optimally. While some might discount the current possible contribution of solar towards reducing demand on Con Ed's generators, if Con Ed were to help facilitate solar now, this technology might make a contribution over time as the panels themselves become more efficient and costs decline." - Pat

    "When I lived on Staten Island as a teenager, the Con Ed Transformer atop the power pole on our block would "fry" and explode every summer, because the system out there was totally above ground -- as it still is in large sections of the Bronx -- and it was also pretty "gerry- rigged", trying to keep pace with new technologies, like air conditioning demand, and the rapid pace of housing development. The Bronx Grid networks are older and
    thus even more vulnerable, and have certainly not been kept up to meet the needs and challenges of the late 20th Century, much less and never mind, the 21st.
    I'm not sure however, Pat, whether the immediate question posed by the article is simply one of power availability (though that is certainly a real issue in itself), but rather whether it isn't more a question of the condition, ability and capacity of the local grid network to carry and transmit sufficient power, even if such adequate power was actually available to the local grid or the grid as a whole. Individual buildings providing some of their own power might be feasible, but selling any additional power generated to the grid won't work as an overall part of the
    solution if the local network itself can't handle it. Con Ed just doesn't seem to want to invest in network maintenance and development in the older outlying Boroughs, except on an incremental basis where new construction requires it as an immediate, local but imperfect fix.
    The glaring -- and what should be embarrassing -- fact is that there is no Manhattan network among the "Top Ten". A sign, once again, as John has so vividly painted and described it., of the total lack of real sustained interest by the "power" brokers, of all types, in our home Borough." - Joe

  3. So, even after the fiasco in Queens this past summer Con Ed has no plan for the neighborhoods most likely to melt down? It seems so businessman to insist on a plan, where is Bloomberg on this? He was the great defender of Con Ed, he should get a plan out of them that includes what they will do when there is a blackout and how they intend to improve the system so that it can provide for the energy needs of the community.


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