Hundreds of Allentown and other West Side residents are expected to be without power – including their air conditioners, freezers and electric fans – during the daytime Thursday, thanks to some planned reconstruction work by National Grid crews, the utility confirmed Monday afternoon.
It could be worse. Temperatures are expected to climb to a high of 89 degrees Wednesday. It cools off a bit with an expected high of about 82 degrees Thursday.
But that didn’t appease Buffalo Teachers Federation President Phil Rumore, who blasted the utility for affecting so many people for so long on a hot summer day.
National Grid officials say that the reconstruction of three feeder lines in the Niagara Street-Prospect Avenue area will affect a total of 933 residential and business customers, starting at 8 a.m. Thursday and lasting up to eight hours, or until 4 p.m.
“It will help us in the future, giving us more flexibility to restore power more quickly in a crisis,” said Terah Fox, a National Grid media relations spokeswoman.
At the same time Thursday, National Grid workers will move a utility pole in the same area, in conjunction with some construction work at nearby D’Youville College.
The reconstruction work is expected to affect customers on Allen Street, Arlington Place, College Street, Fargo Avenue, Porter Avenue, Prospect Avenue, Pennsylvania Street, Hudson Street, Jersey Street, Niagara Street, Orton Place and West Avenue, the utility reported.
Rumore, whose office is in that area, wasn’t pleased about the large-scale effect.
“I find it outrageous that they’re going to cut power to more than 900 people on the West Side, from 8 to 4, that they can’t do it piecemeal or on the weekend,” he said. “They have to be able to do it in a less disruptive manner.”
Rumore also cited the hardship for West Siders and questioned whether this disruption would be tolerated in other sections of Buffalo or Erie County.
“It’s outrageous,” he added. “They wouldn’t do this in North Buffalo.”
Fox, from National Grid, was asked what might happen if the really high temperatures expected through midweek linger in the area for an extra day, leaving homes and businesses without air conditioners, fans and refrigerators during the daytime Thursday.
“If there is an issue due to weather, it would be rescheduled for the following day, the 31st,” she said.
Meanwhile, in an unrelated incident, a pole fire led to a power outage that affected about 440 National Grid customers in downtown Buffalo late Monday morning, another utility spokeswoman said.
Service was restored at around 2 p.m., according to spokeswoman Virginia Limmiatis.