Electrical accident snarls First Ave. intersection, but the power stays on

Photo by Lincoln Anderson Workers installed new wiring under this ditch between E. First and Second Sts. on First Ave. after an explosion knocked out one of the area network’s two feeders.

Photo by Lincoln Anderson
Workers installed new wiring under this ditch between E. First and Second Sts. on First Ave. after an explosion knocked out one of the area network’s two feeders.

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON  |  A contractor for the city installing a new manhole at First Ave. and Houston St. last Thursday hit an electrical feeder, causing an explosion. But Con Ed denies the area was ever close to losing power.

There were no injuries, according to Allan Drury, a Con Ed spokesperson.

Repairs of the feeder were still ongoing through Monday.

A contract worker at the scene early Monday morning explained that the network can continue operating with one of its two feeders, but that if the second feeder had been knocked out, too, it would have caused a power outage for the area’s network. Asked how wide an area that would cover, he shrugged uncertainly, “a couple of blocks.”

The feeders each carry 13,000 volts, he said.

The accident was caused when the contract workers were putting in a new manhole for the watermain project at Houston St., he said.

“They have no maps” of what’s underground, the contractor claimed.

Con Ed workers labored all through the night Sunday and early Monday in a manhole at Second St. right next to the Village View complex, splicing in the new wiring, he said.

However, spokesperson Drury dismissed the idea of there having been any risk of a power outage.

“There’s definitely redundancy in the system,” he said, “so that when a feeder is out, there’s not a power outage. We can have two feeders out, and in some instances more, with no outages.”

As for the watermain project, from Essex St. to Bowery, it will reportedly continue another two years, and include fixing up the medians in the middle of Houston St.

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