July 15, 2019 / 3:03 AM / a month ago

Officials seek answers after blackout in New York's Manhattan

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Government and utility officials were still searching for definite reasons on Sunday for a five-hour blackout in a large section of New York City’s Manhattan borough that left 73,000 customers without power on Saturday.

No deaths or injuries resulted from the blackout that stretched from West 30th Street to West 72nd Street, an area filled with tourist attractions and Broadway theaters.

A transformer explosion at West 49th Street cascaded into a widespread outage that cut power subways, homes and businesses.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city and Consolidation Edison Co. of New York, the city’s main utility, ruled out a surge in usage as a factor for the blackout on Saturday.

Neither a cyber attack nor a terrorist act were to blame, de Blasio added at a press conference. “Definite causes will take some time” to figure out, he said.

Activity in the Times Square appeared back to normal on Sunday. Traffic and subways returned to their summer weekend flow.

Broadway theaters reopened after shows were canceled the evening before.

Slideshow (4 Images)

During Saturday’s blackout, Broadway performers entertained on sidewalks to delighted crowds, while a few citizens directed cars and trucks after traffic lights went down.

Con Edison President Timothy Cawley assured that its electrical system will be able to handle a pickup in demand in air conditioning in the coming days. “We are prepared to the end of the week,” he said. “We could still serve the system on the hottest day of the year.”

The city is bracing for daily peak temperature in the high-80s to low-90s Fahrenheit (low-to-mid 30 Celsius) over the next five days, according to the National Weather Service.

Reporting by Richard Leong

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