Utility Service Restores Power To Most With Relief From Heat In Sight

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Saturday marked the seventh day of temperatures above 90 degrees in New York City.

As residents cranked up the air conditioning, an unprecedented strain was being put on power companies as temperatures stayed high until the late afternoon.

Con Edison said it broke a record for electricity usage Friday. The utility used 13,214 megawatts at 2 p.m., topping the old mark of 13,189 from July 22, 2011.

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Unlike years when Con Ed left people without electricity for days, the utility upgraded its system before this summer.

Con Ed spokesman Bob McGee said as of Saturday morning, there are only about 300 people without power.

“I think we’re over the hump on this one,” McGee said. “We will not reach a peak today. Once the weather breaks, it should be much, much better.”

The heat index at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City hit a staggering 107 degrees at 1 p.m. Friday, the highest mark yet during the heat wave that has gripped the Northeast. The temperature in Manhattan’s Central Park topped 90 for a sixth straight day and inched down only to 89 by 11 p.m.

Though temperatures hit the 90s again on Saturday, a cold front Saturday night, produced storms that could send temperatures throughout the region down to the mid-80s on Sunday.  In anticipation of the thunderstorms, Con Ed will had over 600 field personnel ready to respond to any outages that occurred.

By Saturday night lightning was flashing and rain was soaking parts of northern New Jersey and the city.

The state also set a power record, according to the New York Independent System Operator.

Thousands of customers in upstate New York counties lost power as thunderstorms swept through the region Friday night, National Grid reported.

Con Ed said about 1,100 New York City customers were in the dark early Saturday, mostly in Brooklyn and Queens.

Liz Nielsen, who works at Manhattan’s David Zwirner art gallery, found a high-tech way to beat the heat: She used a smartphone app to summon Uber, a taxi company that, for a day, was also delivering ice cream.

“It’s just so hot,” Nielsen said. “I keep wandering around thinking, where is the oxygen today? I like ‘on demand’ ice cream, especially when it’s this hot. I’m sure a lot of people want it right now. We got lucky.”

New York City’s Department of Homeless Services added more outreach teams to persuade the homeless to leave the baking streets, while Meals-on-Wheels delivered extra water to the elderly and frail. An air quality alert was issued for New York City and Long Island, while Amtrak trains traveling to Manhattan’s Penn Station were delayed for hours after the heat caused track issues throughout New England.

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