An Arc Flash Accident in Queens, New York exposed residents to how much damage can be done when an arc flash accident occurs. Consolidated Edison is one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the United States. In 2017, they did roughly $12 billion in annual revenue. Consolidated Edison says that an electrical fault at a substation in Astoria, Queens caused an electrical arc flash Thursday night, December 27th. This Arc Flash lit up the sky over New York City while causing some flight delays and scattered power outages.


Arc Flash Photo credit to Ben Feuerherd and C.J. Sullivan of the New York Post

What Caused The Arc Flash Accident?

Consolidated  Edison (commonly referred to as Con Edison) issued a statement Friday, December 29th. They said, “An electrical fault on a section of 138,000-volt equipment in one of our Astoria substations caused a transmission disturbance and a sustained electrical arc flash, creating the blue light people witnessed. The equipment that malfunctioned is associated with voltage monitoring within the substation.”

Apparently, the equipment that malfunctioned was designed to measure the voltage which allowed the energy to escape instead, as reported by ABC7NY.

Many small customers of Con Edison experienced flickering lights while some of their larger customer. A few of them being LaGuardia airport and local subway transits. Service on the subway system’s 7 line in Queens was impacted for 30 minutes while track equipment was reset. Some other customer electrical equipment also shut off and had to be reset.

NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill explained, “A half hour before the transformer explosion, there were about five-hundred 911 calls. In a half hour covering the explosion, more than thirty-two hundred 911 calls. All manner of calls: There was an explosion, some people thought it was a bomb, blue light in the sky, blackout conditions.”

Who Was Hurt?

Fortunately, there were no reported injuries. However, city officials have scheduled a meeting with the energy giant on February 11th, 2019. This is to find out how this arc flash accident could have been prevented.

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