* Con Ed reduces voltage in Brooklyn neighborhoods
* Company locked out union workers on Sunday
* Heat wave to bake New York through weekend
By Scott DiSavino
NEW YORK, July 5 Crew from New York power
company Consolidated Edison Inc repaired equipment to end
a brownout on Thursday morning in Brooklyn as heavy air
conditioning usage strained power lines during a heat wave.
The latest voltage reduction was the first since the company
locked out its 8,500-member unionized workers on Sunday after
contract talks broke down. The company did not give details on
The company said the latest voltage reduction had nothing to
do with the lockout, noting it had reduced voltage in parts of
Brooklyn and Queens a couple of weeks before the lockout during
a heat wave.
The union, however, said the voltage reduction was a sign
that Con Edison could not keep the system running without the
"This is what we have been saying all along, that the
company would run into these problems when the weather heats up.
They needed to reduce voltage because they could not keep the
system up," John Melia, a union spokesman, told Reuters.
"This is an extremely dangerous situation for the people of
New York," Melia said, noting that replacement workers were
getting hurt every day due to a lack of experience.
The company, however, countered that crews in the field were
"Many of the managers out in the field came up through the
union and did the kind of work needed to maintain the system in
the past," Con Edison spokeswoman Sara Banda told Reuters.
High temperatures in New York, the biggest metropolitan area
in the United States, were expected in the 90s Fahrenheit (32
Celsius) through the end of the weekend, according to
Con Edison said it reduced voltage by 5 percent Wednesday
night as a precaution to protect equipment and maintain service
as crews worked to repair the problems.
Customers don't lose power in a voltage reduction, but
incandescent lights, hot water heaters and some motors are
The company did not ask customers in the affected Brooklyn
neighborhoods to take any special measures, but continued to ask
all of the 3.2 million homes and businesses it serves in New
York City and Westchester County to continue to conserve energy
during the heat wave.