Months after Sandy, solar chargers for mobile phones debut in NYC

NEW YORK Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:45pm EDT

1 of 5. People charge their mobile devices at a Street Charge station in the Brooklyn Borough of New York June 18, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City unveiled the first of 25 free solar charging stations for mobile phones on Tuesday, installed in response to Superstorm Sandy, which wiped out power and forced residents to walk miles to charge their phones.

The Street Charge stations are New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's latest answer to flaws in infrastructure and operations exposed by the historic storm that ripped into the East Coast in October 2012 and left about 900,000 New York City dwellers and millions of others in the region without power.

Located throughout the city's five boroughs, the charging stations are part of a public-private partnership with AT&T, according to a news release. Powered by solar panels, they will work day or night, in sun or shade, the statement said.

Six ports in each station will allow the public to charge phones, tablets and other devices even if the city's power is out, the statement said.

In the first days after the storm, some of the city's residents walked miles to line up and charge their electronic devices. The city then set up mobile charging stations and generators in the blacked-out areas of New York, which inspired the idea of creating solar-powered charging stations for everyday use.

Street Charge units were put to work this week in Union Square in Manhattan, Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn and on Governor's Island, with more opening by the end of the summer, the statement said.

AT&T is paying for the 25 stations, with the city bearing no cost, Marissa Shorenstein, president of AT&T's New York office, told Reuters.

Sandy brought a record 14-foot storm surge to lower Manhattan and inflicted an estimated $19 billion in damages on the city. The storm, which claimed more than 130 lives in the United States and Canada, left more than 8 million homes and businesses along the East Coast in the dark.

(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Dan Grebler)

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Comments (2)
kelemvor wrote:
If there’s such a big power outage that you can’t charge your phone, I’d guess most of the cell towers would probably also be out of commission. But at least you could play some Angry Birds while you wait.

Jun 18, 2013 1:29pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
totherepublic wrote:
kelemvor

Very good point. And if you call now you can get your very own personal solar cell phone battery charger for $9.99+ shipping and handeling just call 1-800……and for an added incintive you get 16 ozs of oxiclean free. And you can still play Angry Birds while you wait for the next wave.

Jun 18, 2013 2:06pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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