By Jonathan Sperling
More than 3,000 Queensbridge residents were without hot water on Monday, after the New York City Housing Authority reported an unplanned outage in the entire Queensbridge North development.
The outage, which affected 14 buildings and 1,543 apartments, was first reported at 5 a.m. Monday. Hot water was restored Monday afternoon.
Hot water outages were also reported at several NYCHA buildings in Brooklyn on Monday morning.
“With heat season starting tomorrow and cold weather on the horizon, it’s disappointing that thousands of NYCHA residents are dealing with unplanned water outages,” a spokesperson for The Legal Aid Society told the Eagle. “The Legal Aid Society calls on the Housing Authority to issue rent abatements for all NYCHA tenants who suffer these outages, many on a regular basis.”
A NYCHA spokesperson told the Eagle that the reason for the outage stemmed from repairs to boiler equipment, and that service had been restored by around 3 p.m.
“Providing our residents with uninterrupted services continues to be our top priority. While today’s hot water service interruption at Queensbridge North Houses has already been restored, NYCHA staff remain onsite to monitor service for residents,” the spokesperson said.
NYCHA residents experiencing any issues in their apartment can create a work ticket by using the MyNychaApp or by calling the Customer Contact Center at 718-707-7771.
A spokesperson for Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer told the Eagle that the matter was being looked into.
More than 18,000 Queens NYCHA residents faced unplanned heat and hot water outages during the 2018 “heating season,” according to data reported by the agency in August. The outages reflect a citywide trend that has left tens of thousands of public housing tenants without functioning heat in the coldest months of the year, a period when landlords are required to provide heating under city law.
NYCHA residents in Queens faced 196 planned and unplanned outages between Oct. 1, 2018 to May 31, 2019 — a period referred to as a heat season by the city’s Housing Preservation and Development agency. In addition to the 18,020 Queens NYCHA tenants who faced unplanned outages, another 15,156 residents experienced planned outages, according to the data.
The Astoria Houses saw the greatest number of unplanned heat or hot water outages last year, with 18 outages affecting over 3,000 residents. The Pomonok Houses had the greatest number of planned outages in the borough, with 36 outages affecting almost 4,200 residents.
The majority of Queens NYCHA complexes experienced outages at some point in the measured timeframe, according to data. Only a handful of sites, including the Baisley Park Houses, had functioning heat and hot water throughout that time period.
NYCHA acknowledged the problem of last year’s outages but said that heat and hot water outages dropped significantly in the previous heating season compared the the 2017-2018 season. The outages in the 2018-2019 heating season lasted an average of nine hours, with response time decreasing by 60 percent since the prior season. The agency said it has allocated nearly $1 billions to replace 310 boilers and distribution systems and improve heat and hot water services for nearly 158,000 residents over the next five years.