Hundreds of Boston residents in South Boston were without electricity — and air conditioning — on Sunday night and into Monday as triple-digit heat Sunday stressed the system and knocked out power.
In all, more than a thousand customers in the City Point neighborhood were affected by the roughly 20-hour outage, according to Eversource maps. By 3:45 p.m. Monday, about 400 customers still remained without power, including some from outages that occurred while crews were making repairs to the original failure.
The South Boston outage comes in the wake of a separate electrical failure on Sunday in Dorchester, where an underground cable fault sparked a manhole explosion and left roughly 20,000 customers without power on the hottest day of the year.
“The cause of the cable fault is still under investigation, but the system has experienced overheating issues during the heat wave as equipment can get stressed,” said Eversource spokesman Christopher McKinnon.
The South Boston outage also followed a manhole explosion near East 6th and N Streets. McKinnon said the incident was caused by underground equipment overheating due to the high demand and temperatures.
Around the corner from where an Eversource crew worked to repair the source of the outage on Monday afternoon, Kathy Costello, 63, chatted about the heat with a neighbor in the parking lot of her 6th Street complex. Costello was considering booking a hotel room if the power didn’t come back on by nightfall.
“One of my friends works at the Marriott and said, ‘If you need a room, call me,’” she said.
Jordes Castro, 27, sat hunched over his laptop on his East 6th Street stoop, struggling to connect to his iPhone’s hotspot, while his seven-month-old Goldendoodle, Rambo, tugged at his leash. After waking to the heat Monday morning, he and Rambo took a two-hour nap in the refuge of his air-conditioned car. Now he was mourning the forsaken contents of his leaking fridge: melted ice cream, a defrosted turkey, and spoiled steak tips.
“They’re probably not good. It’s going on 20 hours,” he said. “It’s been a whole thing.”
Lee Krikorian, 74, was one of the lucky ones. He said the power returned at his 7th Street apartment around 1 p.m. Monday afternoon. He had the spent previous night closing out Local 149, a P Street bar, with a neighbor, throwing back gin and tonics while watching for text updates from Eversource about when their power would come back.
“We made the best of it,” he said.
On June 1, ISO New England, the nonprofit that operates the region’s power grid, expressed confidence in the grid’s ability to weather the summer heat. Still, the state’s two major providers — Eversource and National Grid — have been urging their customers to alleviate stress on the system by turning up the thermostat a few degrees and not running large appliances during peak hours.
Power outages have been a more common occurrence in the past week as Massachusetts — and much of the country and Europe — endured a punishing summer heat wave. McKinnon said Eversource crews have restored power to more than 73,000 customers since the start of the heat wave.
Temperatures on Monday are expected to stay below 90 degrees for the first time in six days, bringing to a close a heatwave that filled Boston emergency rooms with heat-related ailments and buckled power systems from Medford to Dorchester. Temperatures are expected to drop even further as thunderstorms roll into the region Monday night.
But the heavy rain could cause even more outages, said McKinnon.
“We are closely watching multiple forecasts as severe weather approaches the region, which could bring damaging wind and heavy rain,” he said. “We are prepared to respond to any power outages throughout the day and have secured extra resources to help with restoration efforts if necessary.”