Con Edison, the utility company responsible for maintaining the power supply to much of Manhattan, has claimed the blackout that brought darkness to many parts of Manhattan on Saturday night was caused by a substation’s relay system that “did not operate as designed.” Con Edison says the faulty system was at West 65th Street substation.
In a statement on Monday, Con Edison said “That system detects electrical faults and directs circuit breakers to isolate and de-energize those faults. The relay protection system is designed with redundancies to provide high levels of reliability. In this case, primary and backup relay systems did not isolate a faulted 13,000-volt distribution cable at West 64th Street and West End Avenue.”
They continued, “The failure of the protective relay systems ultimately resulted in isolation of the fault at the West 49th Street transmission substation, and the subsequent loss of several electrical networks, starting at 6:47 p.m.”
Most of these types of incidents are a result of human error or equipment failure. Both of which can usually be prevented. The blackout caused most Broadway plays to be cancelled, stranded thousands in the dark subways, and led to criticisms of then-absent New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.