By Scott DiSavino
(Reuters) - New York power company Consolidated Edison Inc said Monday it reduced voltage in some Manhattan neighborhoods, an action known as a brown-out, as a heat wave stresses the electric system.
High temperatures in the Big Apple were expected to hit 92 degrees Fahrenheit on Monday, 95 on Tuesday and 94 on Wednesday before falling to near normal levels in the 80s on Thursday, according to AccuWeather.com.
The company said in an email it was not asking customers to take any special measures - like turning off air conditioners - at this time. The affected neighborhoods include Midtown East, East Side and Roosevelt Island.
Customers do not lose power in a voltage reduction, but incandescent lights, hot water heaters and some motors are affected.
The company said on its web site it had fewer than 70 customers without power early Monday afternoon, which is about normal for a utility of its size at any time of year.
Con Edison, which locked out its 8,000 member union workforce on July 1 due to a contract dispute, also used brown-outs to reduce the amount of power flowing to neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx during the last two heat waves in June and earlier in July.
The company said it reduced the voltage on Monday to take the load off the system and allow workers to fix equipment.
In the past, the company said the voltage reductions had nothing to do with the lockout, noting the company reduced the voltage before the lockout and after.
The company and union, which have met several times over the past couple of weeks, were supposed to meet again later Monday for another bargaining session.
Even though Con Edison was not asking customers to take special measures in the parts of Manhattan covered by this voltage reduction, the company did ask all of its 3.2 million customers in New York City and Westchester County to conserve power during the heat wave.
(Reporting By Scott DiSavino; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick, Richard Chang and Andrew Hay)