From the offices of Councilman David Greenfield:
Councilman David G. Greenfield met last week with top officials from Consolidated Edison to get answers on issues that have plagued residents and businesses of Boro Park, Midwood and Bensonhurst for years, including manhole fires and the blackout earlier this summer that left part of Boro Park crippled for several days during a brutal heat wave. Greenfield also discussed issues constituents have contacted his office about – such as delays in getting power restored following the recent incidents – and toured Con Edison’s emergency command center in Downtown Brooklyn. During the meeting, Con Ed officials committed to improving and repairing critical infrastructure throughout areas of Boro Park, Midwood and Bensonhurst that have been hit hardest by outages in recent years.
“It’s easy to complain when there’s a blackout. My goal is to make sure that a blackout never happens again. I explained to Con Edison the rapid growth that my district is experiencing. After reviewing the information that I provided them with, Con Ed agreed to make the necessary upgrades to try to prevent blackouts in the future,” explained Greenfield. “Residents and merchants need to have confidence that Con Ed can handle the growing demand on its infrastructure. That’s why I am working closely with utility officials to make sure this area receives the upgrades it needs. I was pleased to discuss so many pressing issues with top company officials, and I am confident that they understand how important it is to prevent future blackouts from occurring in Southern Brooklyn, especially in Boro Park,” said Greenfield.
During last week’s meeting at Con Edison’s Brooklyn headquarters, Greenfield was provided with an in-depth explanation of what caused the blackout on June 21 and what steps the utility company will take to upgrade local infrastructure. Con Edison has committed to a multi-million dollar infrastructure upgrade in Boro Park including the vicinity of 50th Street and 14th Avenue, which was the site of the major blackout. Greenfield also discussed the area’s sharp population growth, including the increase of multi-unit apartment buildings, which has placed new demands on the energy grid in recent years, and gained a firsthand look at how Con Ed tracks outages in its Emergency Command Center. Greenfield also discovered that Con Ed cannot always track blackouts in specific buildings right away. That is why officials noted that it is vital that the public immediately report all outages to 1-800-75-CONED and not assume the company is already aware of the problem.
Greenfield requested the meeting in response to the June blackout, which left many homes and buildings on 50th Street between 13thAvenue and 15th Avenue in the dark throughout the weekend. During that incident, Greenfield worked through the night with Con Edison officials to make sure the response was being handled adequately, and to help arrange for emergency generators and cooling buses to be brought to the scene to provide relief to businesses and residents still without power. Following that blackout, Greenfield promised impacted residents that he would follow up with Con Edison on a long-term solution.
At last week’s meeting Greenfield and his staff met with John Banks, Con Edison’s vice president for government relations, Milovan Blair, vice president for Brooklyn electric operations, Joseph Lenge, Jr., department manager for Brooklyn electric engineering, Antonia Yuille Williams, director of public affairs and government relations for Brooklyn, Phyllis White-Thorne, public information manager and several Con Edison engineers. Greenfield will continue working with Con Edison to make sure the upgrades move ahead in a timely manner, and in response to any future incidents.
“This meeting provided me with important insight into the steps Con Edison is taking to avoid many of these same problems in the future. I applaud Con Ed for working with me to resolve these issues. I look forward to continue working closely with the utility company and with residents to quickly resolve issues that arise in the future, and to find long-term solutions to the outages that have impacted the neighborhood,” added Greenfield.