Brooklyn businesses scrambled this week as they dealt with the impact of the blackout initiated by Con Edison. “Due to heat, about 14,000 customers in Brooklyn have been taken out of service for repairs. Service restored through today,” Con Edison promised yesterday. Not everyone was back to normal on Tuesday.
The intentional outage has gained criticism from residents and Mayor Bill DeBlasio, saying that outages were “clearly avoidable”. For restaurants and grocery stores, outages can mean lost food, lost revenue, and thousands of dollars in damages.
Dan Pando, who owns Mill Basin restaurant Dagan’s Pizza, said that the outage was “devastating”.
“Between closing the stores early, to losing the product and the food, all the extra work and we needed to rent a special truck only to try to save some [of the food], it’s looking [like we lost] around twelve to fifteen thousand dollars,” Pando told Bklyner over the phone. The power is back on at his restaurant, but his home, also in Mill Basin, remained without power as of 9:30 am yesterday morning.
“There’s no power, so after I went crazy with all the stuff that I needed to do in the business, I’m coming home and there is no A/C, and there’s no electric, and I slept all night without an A/C. In these temperatures, it’s devastating,” Pando said.
Tony Rampone, the manager of Food Town of Ralph Avenue, said that they didn’t lose any product.
“Thank god, no. I guess whoever was here handled the situation by bringing some dry ice to try to keep everything nice and cool. They put plastic over the cases, to maintain the temperature,” Rampone told Bklyner over the phone. The power has now been restored at the Flatlands grocery store.
The Park Slope Food Coop, on the other hand, lost refrigeration and closed on Sunday.
“We have emergency procedures in place (dry ice, moving refrigerated/frozen items to the coldest freezer.)”, the coop wrote on Twitter Sunday, “Everything going smoothly so far!”. Due to the blackout, the coop only sold non-perishable goods Sunday and into Monday, with full shopping service finally restored as of today.
The Small Business Association did not have information about the number of businesses affected, as the blackout was never declared a national emergency. Small Business Services did not immediately return a request for comment.
Pando noticed inconsistencies in what was without power, saying that “it looks like they can pick and choose” – traffic lights were out on Flatbush Avenue, but the toll on Bell Harbor Bridge – still in service, he added.
“In order to take money from the residents, they have power, but to save lives, doesn’t look like it,” Pando said.