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NYC Warned of Another Potential Blackout for This Upcoming Weekend

  • July 17, 2019

Preliminary results from Con Ed’s investigation of Saturday’s power outage was likely due to a failed relay protection system that left over 70,000 customers on Manhattan’s west side without power.  Electricity was lost from 5 Avenue to the Hudson River, from the 30s all the way up to the 70s, knocking out power to Times Square, Broadway and Madison Square Garden.  Moments before the blackout, the relay protection system failed to detect an underground 13kV distribution cable that had faulted, causing the 49th Street substation to shut down.  Power was restored about 5 hours later. 

Following on the footsteps of this past weekend, Con Edison issued a warning yesterday that more blackouts could be in store for New Yorkers this upcoming weekend.  The city is expected to be struck with its first intense heatwave of the season, with temperatures expected to be in the mid-90s starting on Friday and nudging closer to triple digits Saturday and Sunday.  It’s not the heat that’s worrying the utility, it’s the associated humidity that’s accompanying the heat.   Meteorologists have noted it will feel more like 110 degrees when factoring in the humidity. 

The peak to date for 2019 occurred yesterday, July 16th at a demand value of 29,240MW.  Friday’s demand, especially during the late afternoon hours, is expected to surpass this YTD peak.  However, according to 2018 data, the top 5 actual peak load hours occurred primarily in late August and early September, with the top peak happening on 8/29/2018 at a value of 31,860MW.  While Friday’s demand will likely reach peak to date for 2019, we should anticipate peaks throughout the remainder of the summer. 

When strain on the grid is at its highest, your individual peak kW, peak load contribution (PLC), or capacity tag (ICAP tag) is determined.  This can contribute to 30% or more of your total electricity supply bill.  Extreme weather causes an influx of demand, putting strain on the grid and threatening blackouts.  Performing strategies that curtail your energy demand during these 1 to 5 hours is crucial to avoid significant increases in your electricity costs in the future.  Learn more about our platform, watchwire ’s, ability to notify you of when peak load hours are likely going to occur.