Con Ed Asks Upper Manhattanites Not to Do Any Chores This Weekend

Harlem residents clear snow for the umpteenth time this week. STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

Harlem residents clear snow for the umpteenth time this week.
STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

If you clean your plate with the dishwasher, machine wash your clothes or use the freight elevator to take out trash, you might knock out power to the neighborhood. 

Con Edison asked residents in parts of Harlem and Midtown to refrain from using non-essential appliances in an attempt to conserve electricity Thursday, as they repaired cables damaged in the aftermath of this week’s snowstorms. Kids throughout the area now have an excuse not to do the laundry.

The affected areas contain about 10,000 customers and include Times Square, Midtown, Hamilton Heights and parts of West Harlem, according to a press release. At least 265 customers have lost power this past week.

The outages were most likely caused by melted snow and salt leaking into underground power cables, a problem Con Ed has grappled with in the past. 

“Our cable system is designed to withstand salt water, but sometimes nicks and tears develop,” Sydney Alvarez, a Con Ed spokesman, told The Observer. “Sometimes they’re caused by regular wear and tear. They also happen when heavy traffic causes the cables to vibrate and rub against each other.”

Mr. Alvarez said Con Ed does not know how long the repairs will take, or how long the conservation effort will have to last.

“We’re expecting a third weather system this weekend,” Mr. Alvarez said. “It shouldn’t be as big as the other ones, but we want to be cautious and conserve as long as we can, so more failures don’t happen.”

So neighborhood kids shouldn’t celebrate for too long; they might not have to wash the dishes this weekend, but they’ll definitely have to shovel the stoop.