Updated: 8/28/11 at 12:47 a.m.
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Con Edison considered cutting off power to 6,500 customers in lower Manhattan because it would make the eventual repairs from Hurricane Irene easier.
ConEd operations chief John Miksad said the utility doesn’t expect to cut power before the storm hits, but flooding Sunday could bring a shutdown to areas including the southern tip of Manhattan. That would cut off power to major Wall Street institutions through parts of next week.
New York is regularly blasted by winter storms, but Miksad said this hurricane will be different. Irene’s wind will pack a stronger punch than a nor’easter last March that knocked out power to 175,000 customers, he said.
ConEd has called in crews from as far as Colorado to help repair damage from the storm.
“It depends on the storm’s path, but this will not happen today because the rains haven’t even started,” said Con Ed Spokesman Chris Olert.
Con Ed is also shutting down 10 miles of steam near flood zones to prevent explosions if hot pipes come into contact with cold water.
Flooding could cause severe damage to underground cables, transformers and other equipment if power were left on. Olert says a shutdown “allows us to do repairs more quickly and safely.”
Flooding will also be a problem for nearly 270,000 New Yorkers who live in the low-lying areas.
“The danger for to us here is from the storm surge,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Saturday. “There’s no evidence that the forecast for that is changing. It’s going to be a very serious thing as far as we can tell now.”
Bloomberg ordered the mandatory evacuation of all residents in the coastal areas dubbed “Zone A” and also extended the mandatory evacuation zone to include all of the Rockaways.
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