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Con Edison’s Massive Transformer Explosion Caused by Sandy

con-edison-transformerWhile the worst of Superstorm Sandy is behind us, places like New York City are just beginning to realize the damages. From wind and water destruction to a full out explosion, New Yorkers have the task of reconstructing several parts of the city.

High winds, heavy rain, and severe flooding are all typical ingredients for a hurricane, but an explosion? That’s pretty rare. Shocking noises, lights, even smells, were reported after a transformer literally exploded at a Con Edison plant near the far east end of Fourteenth Street at around 8:30 pm Monday night. Electricity was instantly lost below Thirty-Ninth Street in Manhattan, meaning over 600,000 customers in boroughs across the city were in complete darkness. Con Edison officials were recorded saying this was “the largest storm related outage in our history.”

Con Edison is one of the main utility companies in the NY region, supplying electricity to 3.3 million customers in metropolitan New York as well as 300,000 in southeastern New York and northern New Jersey. They planned to cut power to nearly 50,000 customers in downtown Manhattan and the Financial District and calculated about three days of restoration. Because of the unexpected explosion, repairs are now estimated to take up to a week. This will be a lengthy process which includes clearing sea water away from all components, drying, and testing to ensure it is safe to restore power.

The exact cause of this explosion is still unknown, but Con Edison officials presume the combination of a surplus of water in the substation and flying debris had some impact. Residents around the area of the explosion began sharing photos and videos via social media websites. If you have not yet seen the video footage, you can view it here.

Sarah Battaglia
Energy Curtailment Specialists, Inc.

Sarah can be found on LinkedIn and Google+.

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