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Emergency Power Shutoff Frequently Asked Questions

Extreme stress on the grid, whether from intense heat and very high energy use or from severe storms, can overload cables and other energy delivery equipment and lead to power outages.

To limit outages and bring back power as fast as possible, we may need to temporarily shut off power to customers who are served by strained or damaged equipment. Smart meter technology enables us to turn off only the customers served by that equipment. This targeting technology limits the number of outages and their duration.

Shutting off power is our last resort. When we face problems on our systems, we take steps such as reducing voltage in power lines; cooling overheated transformers; running generators, and asking customers to reduce their electric use.

When we shut off power, it’s only to protect the grid from further damage and avoid outages to more customers and/or longer outages.

When making decisions about shutting off power to prevent severe damage to the grid, we try to limit the number of affected customers. The area affected is determined by the issues identified. In some instances, our aim is to take pressure off a specific piece of equipment, such as a cable or transformer. We will avoid shutting off power to customers who are not impacted by that equipment.
Con Edison can only turn off power to smart meters connected to residences and a limited number of commercial customers. The smart meters connected to common areas, such as hallways and elevators, are connected to commercial meters, not residential.
If we remotely shut off power because of an emergency, our smart meter technology filters out customers who rely on life support equipment, and who registered with us. If you know of someone who uses life support equipment, please encourage them to register with us at

We’ll communicate restoration information as soon as we get it—by emails, texts, and calls —using the contact information we have on file. Make sure your information is up to date now at

You can also look for restoration information by entering an address on

Our ability to conduct emergency power shutoffs via smart meters is new. In past emergencies, we have had to turn off power to wider areas that spanned multiple neighborhoods. Newer technology enables us to respond to emergencies much more strategically. That means fewer outages for less time.

Whenever possible, we will contact you in advance using the contact information we have on file. But sometimes, in an emergency, our operators need to make quick decisions to shut off power to avoid more widespread outages. If that happens, we will text, call or email you and let you know when you can expect your power to be back.

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