It's the Environment, Stupid.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Power woes in Queens

Areas of Queens, NY have been without power for the last few days. What was rough going during the heat wave earlier in the week, has gotten downright nasty as reports say the lights aren't coming on until some time over the weekend. Electricity provider, ConEd (Consolidated Edison), is turing out to be the bad guy in all this. And who can blame Queens residents for pointing the finger at them? According to the NY Times, Mayor Bloomberg finds it "annoying" - he too blames ConEd for the extended outtage, and Astoria assembly man, Michael Ginaris, wants a criminal investivation done of the power company.

Sure some thunderstorms that swept over the area earlier in the week (and outside my window in Brooklyn at the moment), had a part in the power failure - but I have yet to read about anyone who blames the average electricty CONSUMER for this outtage. Has there been any blame put on the people and businesses of NYC who are so addicted to AC that the city becomes a mass of giant, refrigerated (non-energy efficient) skyscrapers kept cold enough to chill your produce? The summer equivalent of the wind-chill factor - it's 92 but feels like 107 - isn't just the humidity. The heat island effect plays a role as well. The city is a massive concrete sponge absorbing the heat during the day and slowly releases it at night, so it never really quite cools off during a 'heat wave'.

Yes it is ConEd's job to fix the problem, and of course we as the consumer expect it to be done NOW, or YESTERDAY even though we have no idea what it takes to assess and repair whatever damage has been done. You can blame ConEd, you can blame global warming, but you might also want to blame your government officials for not requiring green roofs, energy efficient windows and materials, renewable energy incentives or other such policy that might do more to keep the power on and keep the city cool.


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