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No Blackouts for Plutocrats

They won’t be left in the dark.

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The air-conditioning-induced Queens blackout two summers ago, plus the warnings during the June heat wave that the Upper East Side risked the same fate, have sent the upper classes searching for backup power supplies. “We manage many buildings on Fifth and Park Avenues that are in the process or have recently installed generators,” says Michele Kleier of the real-estate firm Gumley Haft Kleier. “And in the summer there’s an upswing in buyers asking about backup power.” Matt Johnson of Gaia Power Technologies, which sells battery backup-power systems, reports growing interest. “Sales have tripled from private townhouses, Park Avenue apartments, and high-rise residential buildings,” he says. Extell Development, for example, included generators in its overhaul of 995 Fifth Avenue, across from the Met, and plans backup power for its new development at 535 West End Avenue. “The Queens blackout definitely played a part in the decision,” says a rep.

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