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Officials seek answers after blackout in New York Manhattan



NEW YORK (Reuters) – Government and public service officials were still searching for definite reasons on Sunday for a five-hour blackout in a large part of the Manhattan district of New York City that left 73,000 customers without power on Saturday.

The blackout that extended from West 30th Street to West 72nd Street, an area full of tourist attractions and Broadway theaters, caused no deaths or injuries.

An explosion of transformers on West 49th Street became a widespread blackout that cut trains, homes and businesses.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city and Consolidation Edison Co. of New York, the city's main utility, ruled out an increase in use as a factor for the blackout on Saturday.

Neither a cyberattack nor a terrorist act were the culprits, de Blasio added at a press conference. "The definitive causes will take some time" to resolve, he said.

The activity in Times Square returned to normal on Sunday. Traffic and subway returned to its summer weekend flow.

The Broadway theaters reopened after the shows were canceled the night before.

Slideshow (6 images)

During Saturday's blackout, Broadway entertainers entertained enchanted crowds on the sidewalks, while some citizens drove cars and trucks after the lights went out.

The president of Con Edison, Timothy Cawley, assured that his electrical system will be able to handle a recovery of the demand of conditioned air in the next days. "We are ready for the weekend," he said. "We could still serve the system on the hottest day of the year."

The city is preparing for the maximum daily temperature at 80 degrees Fahrenheit (80 degrees low in the mid-1980s) over the next five days, according to the National Weather Service.

Richard Leong's report

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