Electrical Problems Plague Rockaway
By Howard Schwach
The high temperatures over the past week, a large demand for electrical energy and old equipment have once again teamed up to create electrical problems for Rockaway. In one case, much of the central portion of the peninsula was blacked out early in the week. In another, a fire in an electrical substation nearby the Bayswater LIPA plant caused only minor disruptions as a small capacitor caught fire, causing customers to be switched to another circuit.
Two electrical feeder lines balked in the high heat and tremendous call for power on Monday, blacking out much of the central portion of the peninsula, from Beach 85 Street to Beach 112 Street. In some of the affected areas, only small pockets of homes and businesses lost their electricity, in others, the blackout was total.
"We had a problem with feeder lines at Bay Towers and Beach Channel High School," Michael Lowndes, a spokesperson for the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) told The Wave on Tuesday. "Those lines went down and approximately 2,200 customers lost their power."
Lowndes says that many of those customers had their power back within an hour or so, but that many others, particularly those in the two-building Bay Towers complex did not get their power back until 2 a.m. on Tuesday.
In order to keep the problem from reoccurring, LIPA has placed two emergency generators in the area and has scheduled extra crews for the neighborhood. Those crews will remain in place until the heat emergency is passed, according to Lowndes.
In the second incident, at 6.a.m. on Thursday morning, a "small bank of capacitors" caught fire at a substation nearby the LIPA plant at Bayswater.
According to Lowndes, no customers lost their power because switching equipment automatically put local customers on another circuit. The Bayswater fire is under investigation.