By Jeanine Prezioso and David Sheppard
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Utility Consolidated Edison said it does not plan a widespread shutdown of New York City's power ahead of Hurricane Irene, although it may impose precautionary power cuts early on Sunday in low-lying areas of downtown Manhattan, where flooding threats are higher.
A spokesman for New York's largest utility said around 6,000 customers south of the Brooklyn Bridge were most likely to be affected if the category 1 hurricane brings a serious storm surge.
The decision will be made between 2 a.m. and 10 a.m. EDT (0600-1400 GMT) on Sunday, the company said, based on the likely storm surge and the time the storm eventually hits the United States' most densely populated city.
ConEd will shut down 10 miles of steam generation lines out of about 110 miles affecting about 50 customers, John Miksad, senior vice president of electric operations, said during a conference call.
ConEd is expecting an additional 400 to 450 crew members to come in from across the country to assist with the storm response.
The utility said the storm does not pose a major threat to the gas system.
(Reporting by Jeanine Prezioso and David Sheppard; editing by Vicki Allen)