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Blackout in New York: is it possible and what to do in such a situation


Nadezhda Verbitskaya

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The last thing the city needs in the summer of 2022 is a power outage. However, some New Yorkers are bracing for the opportunity, as expecting the unexpected has become the norm. With round-the-clock energy consumption and the incessant operation of air conditioners, fears are becoming more serious, according to The city.

How likely is the light to go out

Con Edison stressed that a full-blown power outage throughout the city, such as those that were in 1977 and 2003, is highly unlikely.

“A power outage is a cascading event that leaves everyone out of a job,” said Bob McGee, spokesman for Con Edison. “At the moment, we are not threatened.”

McGee noted improvements such as improved circuit breakers that prevent outages. The power company says it has installed mobile generators in various areas to ensure reliable service during the heat wave. And mobile crews control the voltage level and cool the transformers.

Con Ed staff support online map, which allows you to see the number of logged outages. As long as your internet is working.

be ready

If a shutdown does occur, the City Department of Health and the Federal Department of Homeland Security offer the following advice:

  • Prepare a travel bag with a supply of prescription drugs and hygiene items.
  • Have a radio with fresh batteries and a flashlight with an extra set of batteries.
  • Check your neighbors. The elderly, children and people with disabilities are especially vulnerable during heatwaves and power outages.
  • Buy foods that don't require refrigeration and are almost ready to cook.
  • Stock up on food and water for at least three days.
  • Food will stay cold in the refrigerator for about four hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for approximately 48 hours. Use ice coolers if necessary.
  • Listen to the radio and follow social media for further instructions.
  • Keep laptops, mobile phones and backup batteries charged.


Historical parallels


James Goodman, author of The Blackout, which chronicles the epic 25-hour blackout in New York City on July 13, 1977, admitted that his heart skips a beat when he thinks about the blackout.

“In the summer of 1977, the city was in bankruptcy, youth unemployment was extremely high, and people felt disconnected from life, from the economy,” Goodman said.

The pandemic has not gone unnoticed. Many still complain of an unstable psychological state.

How to save energy

Power outages are catastrophic power outages. They are more likely in summer. High temperatures, humidity, and the need for electricity to power air conditioners can cause cables to overheat and malfunction. Storms with lightning or strong winds can bring down electrical poles.

On the subject: 23 tips to help you save money on electricity

To help prevent disruption and lower bills, Con Ed strongly encourages customers to make the following changes:

  • Clean the air conditioner filters to keep the device running at peak efficiency.
  • Set thermostats to the highest comfortable temperature. Each lower degree increases cooling costs.
  • If you have room air conditioning, close unused areas. In the presence of central air conditioning, close the ventilation openings in unused rooms.
  • Run appliances such as ovens, washing machines, and dishwashers early in the morning or late at night when it's cooler outside. Microwave if possible.
  • Keep blinds and curtains closed throughout the day. About 40% of unwanted heat comes in through windows.
  • Turn off air conditioners, lights and other household appliances when you are not at home.

You can report the outage and check the service restoration status at or send a REG message to OUTAGE (688243) and follow the instructions to subscribe to receive notifications. Customers can also call 1-800-75-CONED (1-800-752-6633).

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