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Massive NYC Blackout Not Terrorism Related: De Blasio

The utility servicing New York City will be investigating the root cause of the massive power outage on the West Side of Manhattan on Saturday evening, while cyber and physical attacks have already been ruled out as causes for the blackout.

Late on Saturday afternoon, Con Edison, the company servicing New York, said that it was responding to “extensive outages on the Westside of Manhattan.”  

The power outage plunged Midtown Manhattan into darkness, cut short dozens of evening Broadway shows, and forced officials to evacuate 25,000 fans of a sold-out Jennifer Lopez concert at the Madison Square Garden after the blackout cut electricity three songs into the set list.  

There have been no reports of anyone hurt or injured during the blackout, although the Fire Department had to respond to calls for more than 400 stuck elevators across Manhattan.

Early on Sunday, Con Edison said that crews had completed the restoration of the power to 72,000 customers on the West Side of Manhattan who were left without electricity for five hours after 7 p.m. on Saturday.

“With all customers back in service, the company will focus on investigating the cause of the equipment failures and on getting the electrical-delivery system back to its normal level of reliability,” Con Edison said.

“This was not a cyber attack and this was not an act of physical terrorism,” New York mayor Bill de Blasio said.

The outage was not caused by heavy demand either, as it occurred during a period of low power usage, de Blasio noted.

“While this situation was luckily contained, the fact that it happened at all is unacceptable,” New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo said, adding that he had directed the Public Service Commission to do “a full and thorough investigation into the cause of tonight's blackout and we will hold all parties accountable in ensuring this does not happen again.” 

Con Edison has been fined by PSC in the past—for example in 2007 with US$18 million for power failures, including a nine-day blackout in part of Queens in 2006.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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