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Con Ed Battling To Prevent Power Blackouts

by HOWARD GIRSKY Hundreds of Con Edison staff were mobilized on Tuesday (July 6) to avert a power blackout in Queens as the season’s biggest heat wave shattered records.
The utility’s spokesperson, Carol Conslato said at presstime that 4,052 customers lost power throughout the borough, with the majority of affected customers in Whitestone
Conslato said that after energy use peaked at noon Tuesday an eight percent reduction in power was ordered by Con Edison officials.
"People working with me at the Emergency Control Center in Brooklyn have been in place here for more than 15 hours straight," Consalto said. "We have called upon our customers to reduce their use of electricity and they are responding."
Con Ed crews were out Tuesday restoring outages. Other areas hit by the unprecedented power usage included Rego Park, Richmond Hill, Maspeth and Jamaica.
Con Ed’s Consalto was guarded about the near future.
"We are concerned about how long the heat wave lasts," she said. "We’ll have to see."
If you had to work in the kitchen of a Chinese restaurant in Flushing, wait for a subway on the Union Turnpike station or took a leisurely walk across the Queensboro Bridge you had to contend with record-breaking heat last week.
Several trouble spots cropped up in Queens including a two and one-half hour power outage that caught half of Howard Beach without air conditioning. The outage hit an area bordered by 88 to 102 Sts. and 156 to 165 Aves., affecting nearly 3,000 customers.
Queens’ roadways felt the heat as well. Part of the Queensboro Bridge was closed for several hours after heat loosened part of the road surface.
The chaos was triggered by a record 101 degree day on July 5 that disrupted a holiday weekend for millions who escaped to the Rockaways and beyond, huddled in their homes with air conditioners at full throttle or kept a close eye on the elderly and sick who are most vulnerable to the sizzling rays baking the Big Apple.
Although the heat caused misery, there was one optimistic note struck. Police and Fire Dept. reported sharp decreases in fireworks injuries during Fourth of July celebrations.
Six injuries were reported as compared to 50 in years past.
Officials at New York Hospital Queens Medical Center reported that its emergency room was filled with patients suffering from heat-related problems.
According to Dr. Diane Sixsmith, director of the emergency room, patients suffering from serious underlying disease such as heart conditions or diabetes were admitted to the Hospital for a few days.
"We found several patients who were dehydrated and suffering from electrolyte problems," he said "They needed to have their fluids replenished."
Sixsmith said elderly patients who take diuretics for their heart problems are particularly at risk.
"In some cases," she said, "patients have a low grade fever."
Sixsmith had this advice to beat the heat:
• Drink a lot of fluids — two quarts a day more than one usually does.
• Drink water, but also either Coke, ginger ale or Gatorade to replenish electrolytes.
• If you exercise make sure to do it in a cool location.
• Keep cool. Stay close to the air conditioner.
One sensible Bayside woman, Maria Accurso, said she beat the heat by sticking close to her air conditioner and taking frequent showers.
A local photographer, Esther Ahn, found that the best way to avoid the heat was to stay home and watch horror films, including the Hitchcock classic, "Psycho."
In Howard Beach, Gary Sapolsky, a salesman, escaped to the pool at the Crest Hollow Country Club, but found "wall to wall people." He left there, played basketball with his son, said he almost passed out, and retreated home to stay close to his air conditioner.
Baysider Louise Cavaliere spent part of the day at the Jeffrey Gardens Swim Club, but abandoned it for her air conditioner at home.

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