New York City’s electricity provider ConEd (Consolidated Edison) created an early meme with its ubiquitous street signs “Dig We Must” wherever they were working on new underground cable installation. Although the signs are gone, the work continues—but not always in time, it seems.

On July 6, ConEd issued a notice to customers on the East Side (Manhattan) to conserve electricity because work was going to have an adverse effect on the area. Specifically, the voltage would be reduced by 8% to protect equipment during repairs. This notice is in effect until further notice, it seems.

The area is bounded on the north by East 62nd Street, to the east by the East River, to the south by East 56th Street and to the west by Lexington Avenue. It includes the Midtown East and East Side neighborhoods. The area also includes Roosevelt Island. It includes 9,600 customers.

The voltage reduction also covers an area bounded by East 52nd Street on the north, Park Avenue on the east, 44th Street on the south, and 5th Avenue on the west. But the company is not asking customers in this area, which covers a portion of the Midtown East neighborhood, to conserve.

ConEd has asked customers in the affected area not to use energy-intensive appliances such as washers, dryers, microwaves, and, if not needed for health or medical reasons, air conditioners, until the equipment problems are resolved. Customers should also turn off lights, televisions, and computers that are not needed.

On July 13, however, a different notice went out: “Con Edison is responding to extensive power outages affecting approximately 42,700 customers on the west side of Manhattan. The company will provide updates as they become available.

“Company crews are working now to repair the problem. Con Edison advises customers in the affected areas to switch off or unplug electrical appliances to avoid potential damage to the appliances when power is restored.”

The number of customers challenged by the outage grew as reports came in and by July 14 the utility issued a new bulletin: “Con Edison crews have completed the restoration of power to 72,000 customers on the West Side of Manhattan. The company got the last of six electrical networks back in service shortly before midnight. The outages began before 7 p.m. Saturday (July 13).

“With all customers back in service, the company will focus on investigating the cause of the equipment failures and on getting the electrical-delivery system back to its normal level of reliability.

“The customers affected were concentrated in an area that reached West 72nd Street on the north, West 30th Street on the south, the Hudson River on the west, and 5th Avenue on the east.”

If you live or work in the areas mentioned, be aware that ConEd has some resources available for you. Con Edison offers a number of mobile solutions so you can manage your accounts, report and check the status of an outage, learn energy-saving tips, and more. Text REG to OUTAGE (688243) to sign up for text notifications, and follow the prompts. You will need to enter your Con Edison account number to complete the registration process. Once you’ve registered, you will not need your account number to report or check the status of a power problem.

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