A substation explosion in Queens caused scattered power outages and bathed the New York City skyline in bright blue light for several minutes.
— Christopher N. Okada (@ChrisOkada) December 28, 2018
The incident was a result of a power surge at the Astoria East Substation on Thursday night around 9:00 p.m., which sparked a transformer explosion and fire. Subsequent power outages caused a brief shutdown of LaGuardia Airport and local train services.
“The electrical fault on the 138,000-volt equipment caused a sustained electrical arc flash that was visible across a wide area. The affected equipment was isolated to a single section within the substation,” read a Friday morning statement from Consolidated Edison, the energy company that runs the Astoria substation.
— Eli Diago Navarro (@elitxudn) December 28, 2018
Consolidated Edison — also known simply as Con Ed — said it is still investigating the root cause of the incident. There were no reported fatalities or injuries, and all power was restored before midnight.
The strange blue light sparked rampant speculation as to what was going on. A Con Ed spokesman reassured residents that extraterrestrials were not involved.
“No, it wasn’t space aliens,” Con Ed spokesman Bob McGee confirmed Thursday night.
There was a brief electrical fire at our substation on 20th Avenue & 32nd Street in Astoria this evening, which caused a transmission dip in the area. All power lines serving the area are in service and the system is stable. Photo: Michael Friedl, New York Times pic.twitter.com/vq2Ao46rhk
— Con Edison (@ConEdison) December 28, 2018
Despite there being no injuries, environmental activists used the incident to attack fossil fuels.
“This is a very old and very polluting power plant that should have been shut down quite a while ago,” Judith Enck, the former Environmental Protection Agency regional administrator for the state of New York, stated to HuffPost on Thursday. “It’s a reminder that New York needs to accelerate efforts to phase out fossil fuels.” (RELATED: Here’s How Renewable Energy Actually Hurts The Environment)
Jessica Ramos, a Democratic state senator-elect, stood outside the Astoria Generating Station after the explosion and used the opportunity to tout her legislative plan to transition New York to 100 percent renewable energy.
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