City Council Grills Con Edison About December's Blue Light Explosion

February 11, 2019 - 11:57 am
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – A little over a month after a mysterious blue aura lit up the skies over Queens, a hearing was held in the City Council to get more answers from Con Ed and others.

The strange light that appeared at 9:12 p.m. on Dec. 27 looked like something out of a sci-fi flick, with one man telling reporters he was scared and wondered, “Is it aliens coming?”

At Monday's hearing, Con Ed executive Milovan Blair blamed the light show on a malfunction of a section of high-voltage equipment that caused a four-minute electrical arc flash. 

“So far, we have replaced the faulty equipment, we have installed a redundant system and are working directly with the manufacturer to minimize the chance of this happening again,” Blair said.

Related: No Aliens: Cuomo Says ‘Electrical Arc’ Caused Eerie Blue Light

There were no real sparks Monday, though Councilmember Costa Constantinides, who called for the hearings, faulted Con Ed for not doing enough to inform nervous Astoria residents, some of whom thought it might be a terrorist attack.

“We’re your neighbors,” Constantinides told Blair. “Across the street from your facilities are people’s homes, where their children play.”

December's incident led to a ground stop at LaGuardia Airport and a brief shutdown of the 7 line. There were no injuries in the "Astoria Borealis," but a lot of unanswered questions remained.

The incident put an increased focus on greener energy solutions, and a bill introduced at the hearing calls on the city to study replacing existing gas-fired power plants in the boroughs with renewables that run on batteries.

Before the hearings, Constantinides told WCBS 880: “I know very publicly Con Ed has stated that their goal is to be greener. We’re going to hold them accountable to that.”

Related: Transformer Explosion In Queens Lights Up Sky, Briefly Shuts Down LaGuardia