U.S. News

Power restored in Manhattan after blackout left over 70,000 Con Edison customers in the dark

Key Points
  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said an issue with a transmission line had caused the power outages. 
  • No injuries occurred as a result of the blackout.
  • The power outage wreaked havoc on the subway system in Manhattan and left much of Times Square in the dark.
  • Governor Cuomo said he has ordered investigation to "identify the exact cause of the outages."
A blackout affects buildings in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S, July 13, 2019. REUTERS/Maria Caspani TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Maria Caspani | REUTERS

Power was restored to sections of Manhattan hit by a blackout which had left more than 70,000 Con Edison customers and much of Times Square in the dark and wreaked havoc on the subway system for hours Saturday.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said power had been restored to affected customers, who were concentrated in Midtown Manhattan and the Upper West Side, and thanked the city's first responders.

No injuries occurred as a result of the blackout. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said an issue with a transmission line had caused the power outages.

"While this situation was luckily contained, the fact that it happened at all is unacceptable," Cuomo said. "I have directed the PSC to do a full and thorough investigation into the cause of tonight's blackout and we will hold all parties accountable in ensuring this does not happen again."

A senior city official with direct knowledge of the matter told NBC News that the power outage was apparently caused by a transformer fire at 54th Street and West End Avenue.

A blackout affects buildings in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S, July 13, 2019.
Maria Caspani | Maria Caspani

New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said he spoke with the CEO of Con Edison and there was a "major disturbance" at the West 49th Street substation. A full emergency response was mobilized, Johnson said.

Mayor de Blasio said the power failures were due to a manhole fire earlier Saturday evening. He said NYC Emergency Management, NYPD and the FDNY were all responding to the outages.

The New York City Fire Department had units on the scene and was handling calls to assist people stuck in elevators.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority said there were outages in subway station complexes throughout Manhattan and that it was working to keep trains moving.

Passengers in a subway train at the 66th Street station during a blackout caused by widespread power outages, in this still frame taken from video, in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S. July 13, 2019. REUTERS/Aleksandra Michalska
Aleksandra Michalska | REUTERS

Due to the outages, subway service was limited into Manhattan from Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. The A,C,D,F and M lines were disrupted. The MTA was encouraging customers to avoid below-ground stations.

Four stations were without power and closed to the public: 59-St. Columbus Circle, 47-50 Sts.-Rockefeller Center, 34 St.-Hudson Yards and 5 Avenue/53 St. The MTA, however, emphasized that the entire subway system was affected by the outage and encouraged people in Manhattan to take the bus.

The MTA reported that service had returned to normal around midnight. 

Times Square was also hit by the blackout. Due to the outage, Saturday's performance of the hit musical Hamilton was cancelled.