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Queens Chronicle

Weekend blackout in Fresh Meadows

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Posted: Thursday, July 11, 2013 10:30 am

A transformer tripped off at 3:06 p.m., during the scorching heat on Saturday, leaving 85 homes in Fresh Meadows, near 48th Avenue and 188th Street, out of service.

The transformer was repaired, but tripped off again twice on Sunday before it was replaced on Monday morning, according to Chris Olert, a spokesman for Con Edison. The power was restored in the afternoon.

Residents Ruth and Fred Hersh, both senior citizens, were unable to remain in their house overnight without power.

“It’s very difficult for us without the air conditioner” Ruth said. “It makes me so angry.”

The city’s Office of Emergency Management operates over 400 cooling centers throughout the city at community centers, such as libraries, and senior centers.

The hours of each center vary, so to find nearby cooling centers, call 311 or visit nyc.gov. In the event of a power outage, anyone can call 311 for information on how to get to a cool place and receive transportation if necessary, according to a spokesman from the Office of Emergency Management.

About 700 homes throughout Queens were without power at various times over the weekend, Olert said. Con Edison serves 754,000 customers in Queens, or 2.2 million people.

Customers can report blackouts by calling 1(800) 75-CONED (26633) or going to myconed.com. There is also a mobile phone app.

“We apologize for the inconvenience to any customers who were affected,” Olert said.

He recommended turning off any unused appliances and keeping air conditioners in the high 70s because each degree lowered requires 6 percent more electricity to run the appliance. Fans use only one-tenth of the energy an air conditioner uses. Closing blinds and curtains to block the sun also helps keep rooms cool.

Other cooling tips include cooking and using major appliances, like dishwashers and washing machines, early in the morning or late at night.

Olert recommended unplugging appliances such as televisions and microwaves, which have an instant on/off switch, when they are not in use and especially before going away on vacation to save money and electricity.

Queens residents have experienced blackouts in previous summers, due to strains on the grid from high electricity consumption, but Olert said that Con Edison has “invested a lot in the system,” and does not anticipate extensive power loss this summer.

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