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NYC Heat Wave: Con Edison Promises 'Safe, Reliable' Service Over Weekend


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The heat is on Con Edison.

The governor, the mayor and millions of New Yorkers are hoping against hope that utility wins the fight with mother nature and isn't thrown to the mat by soaring temperatures, CBS2 political reporter Marcia Kramer says.

Steam pouring out of an open manhole on the Upper West Side with a Con Ed crew on site wasn't exactly the most comforting sight in the same neighborhood hit by the blackout.

But Con Ed officials say, chill, New York, we have you covered.

"We are focused and moving forward on this event with everybody's keen eye on ensuring safe, reliable service through the weekend," Tim Cawley, Con Ed president, said. "We are confident in the system. We spend all year preparing for periods like this."

With record high temperatures predicted for this weekend, Con Ed activated its command center and brought in an extra 4,000 people on 12-hour shifts.

Web Extra: Con Ed President On Extreme Heat Preparation --


Cawley insisted at a press conference Friday that last Saturday's blackout was an anomaly and that relays and redundancies built into the system unexpectedly failed.

Kramer: "Are you anticipating outages?"
Cawley: "We are poised to respond to any outage ... Should outages come in, our intent is to repair as quickly as possible."
Kramer: "How do you feel about the redundancy that you built into the system?"
Cawley: "The redundancy that we have on the system allows us to deliver very highly reliable service. By any measure, we are the most reliable electric delivery system in the United States."

Some Con Ed customers do think the lights will stay on.

"Pretty confident ... because, it seems like it happened before not too long ago, a few days ago, so I'm pretty sure they're going to stay on top of it now," Dreni Berdtnaj, of Yonkers, said.

"I think it's going to be OK," one woman said.

"It's a big enough company. They should be able to keep it on," another man said.

Others are more cynical.

"I think I'm going to leave town tomorrow just because I'm so worried," Paulette Ettinger, of the Upper West Side, said.

"I'm worried something's going to happen," one man said.

Then there are those who fall into what you might call the "trust but verify" category.

"I'm pretty confident. I certainly hope so because I was one of the people who lost power last week," Joan Wolf, of the Upper West Side, said. "I have battery-operated lights, and I ordered new batteries so all the lights can have batteries, so I'm set except for the heat part."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who again threatened to yank Con Ed's license if their performance isn't up to snuff, is in a category all his own -- the "trust me, I'm going to verify" camp.

"I am not confident. Am I all over Con Ed? Am I doing everything I can? Yes. And do I have people monitoring Con Ed and do I have an alert system where if there's a problem, I will be on it in 11 seconds? Yes," he said.

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