Following rampant power outages in his district on Nov. 30, Councilman Robert Holden released a letter calling for a meeting with NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell, DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez and OEM Commissioner Zachary Iscol to discuss what caused the outage and what steps could be taken to prevent it from happening again in the future. He also asked for Con Edison to take part in this meeting.
Holden expressed concern over the city’s failure to swiftly address the Nov. 30 outages in Maspeth and Middle Village in which thousands of residents lost power for as long as five hours. Traffic in the area was drastically affected by this, according to Holden, as the outages occurred during rush hour.
According to Holden, additional police officers were not deployed to the 104th Precinct until the end of the outages. Holden cited a desire to know what caused the outages and delayed response, as well as wanting to know how outages like this will be handled in the future.
“The areas affected routinely suffer due to overhead lines that cannot handle rain storms,” Holden said. “The transformers on Eliot Avenue blow often, including last year on Election Day. After two conversations with Commissioner Iscol, I still did not understand what additional resources our district would be receiving, nor what the emergency response was other than ‘monitoring the situation.’ It was only after 10:00 p.m. did the 104th Precinct receive additional police officers. Considering heavy rains and strong winds were forecasted, it would make sense that the Office of Emergency Management and NYPD would have coordinated for expected power outages in Queens.”
Holden said he wanted DOT Commissioner Rodriguez to take part in the meeting so his office could discuss plans for when a large amount of traffic lights go out. Holden is hopeful that such a meeting could help ensure each department is better prepared for the next massive outage.
“We know power outages will happen again,” Holden said. “We need a well-coordinated plan in place to mitigate the effects to our constituents.”