Con Ed considers adding new power lines


Residents living in South Riverdale buildings that have been persistently plagued with power outages may find some relief in the coming year.

After meeting with Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz and residents from buildings on Johnson, Palisade and Independence avenues in Spuyten Duyvil, Con Edison representatives said they will investigate the causes of the problem, and will likely add a new source of power that feeds that section of Riverdale. 

Mr. Dinowitz said he has been tracking the problem since 2005, when constituents began complaining about the number and length of outages in this section of Riverdale. Eight buildings began keeping track of when and for how long their power went out. Since July 2010, the buildings reported 16 power outages that lasted anywhere from less than an hour to close to seven days in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy, Mr. Dinowitz said.

“Sixteen outages in three years is unheard of,” said Jerry Yuchtman, who has been living at 2465 Palisade Ave. for nearly two decades. He said power outages have always been an issue in his building. In fact, before 2005, he said, when Con Ed upgraded some of the area’s circuits, his building would have 50 outages a year. His complaints, he said, fell on deaf ears over the years.

“The only answer we’ve ever gotten from them is it’s too expensive” to fix, he said, but he added, “This is their job.”

Allan Drury, a spokesman for Con Ed, said, “We have made a number of improvements in the area the last several years. They include additional tree trimming, additional switches and other targeted infrastructure upgrades. While damage and outages on an overhead electrical delivery system are inevitable during major storms, we are continuing with upgrades.”

Mr. Dinowitz and Mr. Yuchtman agree that the best solution, especially in light of recent storms, is to bury the lines, which is what the assemblyman was asking the power company to do at the meeting. Right now, however, that isn’t something Con Ed is considering.

“This is a major step in the right direction by Con Ed, which will help thousands of residents who have had to deal with this issue for too long,” Mr. Dinowitz said. “While it still doesn’t address the issue of burying the power lines, adding an additional power source will make the situation better, so I am pleased that our meeting had a positive outcome.”