Bath Beach residents roast in heat wave power outage

July 22, 2019 Paula Katinas
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Marie Sabatino summed up the feelings of thousands of Bath Beach residents who suddenly found themselves without electricity Sunday night and were forced to sweat it out on an evening when temperatures soared above 90 degrees. “I’m melting,” she wrote on Facebook.

Bath Beach was one of several neighborhoods across Brooklyn to suffer power outages on Sunday, as Con Ed grappled with increased demands for electricity during the heat wave.

More than 31,000 Brooklyn households were without electricity during the power outage that hit places like Bergen Beach, Mill Basin, Canarsie, Flatlands and Georgetown, in addition to Bath Beach.

In Bath Beach, an estimated 3,600 households had to cope with lack of electricity. Not only could they not watch their favorite television shows, they also had no chance to cool off. No electricity meant no air-conditioning.

“I can never understand why these people are never prepared. When it snows, sanitation is not prepared. When it’s hot, Con Edison is not prepared. They announced all these precautions for us and they aren’t prepared,” local resident Lucy Ace wrote on Councilmember Mark Treyger’s Facebook page on Sunday.

Con Ed was able to restore power for most of Bath Beach by 11 p.m. on Sunday.

It’s not clear why the lights went out in Bath Beach, but Con Ed spokesperson Alfonso Quiroz said the utility cut the power off in other sections of Brooklyn to prevent a larger, more disastrous outage.

“The wires were really cooking,” he told the Home Reporter on Monday. Power was “on the verge of going out” and Con Ed had to do something, he said.

Quiroz said that when Con Ed turns off the power, it can restore the electricity faster than in cases where the power goes out due to other factors.

The Brooklyn power outage took place eight days after a massive blackout in Manhattan that left 70,000 Con Ed customers without electricity for more than five hours.

Treyger, a Democrat representing Coney Island, Gravesend and parts of Bath Beach and Bensonhurst, monitored the Bath Beach situation and provided regular updates to the public via  Facebook and Twitter.

“Just spoke to an official from Con Edison and they feel confident that full power will be restored to our district by 11 p.m. tonight,” Treyger wrote on Sunday night. “They suspect power overload and some equipment failure led to tonight’s outage, but there will be a fuller inquiry as to what happened after they get power back up and running. Con Edison crews are here working on this issue.”

Sabatino had a message for the utility company after her electricity was restored. “Upgrade your stuff Con Ed,” she wrote on Facebook.

Lawmakers said they shared the anger and frustration of residents.

“Unfortunately, what’s happened these past two weekends is nothing new. We have power outages in southwest Brooklyn several times a year without fail — in summer and winter,” Councilmember Justin Brannan wrote on Twitter. “Con Ed folks are always responsive and power is restored but reasons rarely given and nothing changes.”

Brannan is a Democrat whose district includes Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and parts of Bensonhurst and Bath Beach.

Treyger went so far as to suggest that New York State explore the possibility of eliminating Con Ed’s monopoly and hiring another company to provide electrical services.

“No one should have a monopoly over our city’s energy supply. New York State grants Con Edison a license to operate in New York City and the state must step in to demand accountability, answers and changes,” he said in a statement.

When asked to respond to Treyger’s statement, Quiroz said Con Ed is concentrating its efforts on bringing power back. “Our focus right now is restoring power to all of our customers. Once we get that done, we will be happy to sit down with elected officials and discuss what happened,” he told the Home Reporter.

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