He and fellow Veep Steven Parisi also gave quick recaps of the causes of the summer outages — a problem with protective relays, or “the brains of the system,” in the July 13 blackout in Manhattan, and a failure of feeder cables in Brooklyn. They said Con Ed has completed repairs to the grid and is finalizing plans for “significant upgrades” for southeast Brooklyn, where more than 50,000 customers went without power July 21.
After city Public Advocate Jumaane Williams said 63% of customers affected in the Brooklyn outage were black, Con Ed officials dodged the issue.
“We do not track customer demographics,” DeSanti said. “We have to look purely at engineering.”
Energy expert Yury Dvorkin of NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering urged lawmakers to consider breaking up Con Ed’s monopoly on selling electricity to New Yorkers.
Thousands of New Yorkers left in the dark after power outage hits Midtown, Upper West Side
“If we introduce competition so several organizations are going to manage the same assets, naturally the competition forces between these organizations will [make] everyone [strive] to improve it,” he said.
Dvorkin also took issue with Con Ed’s stated practice of refusing to collect demographic information about customers.
“Everyone is equal but the needs are not equal,” he said. “We have different holiday schedules, we have different religious schedules, we have different needs of communities with public schools, with everything.
“Learning the needs of the communities based on ethnicity, religions, age, income would help Con Edison to learn exactly what these customer groups expect from them as electricity deliverer monopolist.”