On Sept. 8, Council Member Elizabeth S. Crowley will introduce legislation to move all electrical conductors in the 30th Council District underground. For residents in Glendale, Woodhaven, Middle Village, Ridgewood, Richmond Hill and Maspeth, this would mean a more reliable source of power, particularly in times of inclement weather.
Hurricane Irene’s impact on Queens highlighted the problems overhead wires create for residents. These wires are easily disrupted, and often leave residents without electricity for extended periods of time. Not only is this inconvenient, it poses a danger to disabled and senior citizens who rely on a source of power for important lifelines. Overhead wires have been a chronic issue throughout the 30th Council District, most notably near Juniper Valley Park, where prolonged outages are common during every storm, regardless of its severity.
Hurricane Irene caused more than 36,000 outages in Queens, where there’s over 5,500 miles of overhead wires- the most in New York City. Meanwhile in Manhattan, where all power lines are buried underground, there were only a handful of people that experienced outages.
The cost of installing these wires would be a one-time investment, that Council Member Crowley is confident will have long-term benefits for residents and the City. The cost and nuisance of constantly having to repair overhead wires is worth the switch. Regardless, Council Member Crowley would work with the City and utility companies to subsidize the cost and alleviate the financial impact on constituents.
Council Member Elizabeth S. Crowley said, “Not only are these overhead wires outdated and unsightly, they pose a real threat to the residents in my community. I have spoken with numerous people who, this year alone, have experienced upwards of four outages due to blown transformers or downed wires. During the tornado of 2010 we saw their potential to spark fires on residential blocks. Moving these wires underground will prevent most of the power failures that we routinely experience. Overall, it is a smart move that will bring my community up to date with the rest of the City.
“The benefit of moving these wires underground outweighs financial cost. Con Edison has a responsibility to make sure that residents in Queens are afforded the most technologically advanced and efficient power supply; after all, they pay the same price for delivery and maintenance. My hope is that the City and Con Edison will be able to work something out to subsidize the cost.”