* Con Ed reduces voltage in NY's Brooklyn, Bronx
* Company, union still far apart in talks-union
* Heat wave to bake New York through weekend


By Scott DiSavino

NEW YORK, July 6 (Reuters) - Contract talks between Consolidated Edison Inc and locked-out union workers concluded late Friday while replacement crews struggled to end brownouts in Brooklyn and the Bronx as New York City sweltered in a prolonged heat wave.

A Con Ed spokesman confirmed the talks had ended late on Friday night and the company plans to resume negotiations with the union on Saturday.

The company and the union negotiated for about 10 hours on Thursday without reaching a deal, and talks resumed at about 9 a.m. Eastern Time Friday, a union spokesman said earlier.

Despite the ongoing talks, John Melia, the spokesman for the Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2, representing 8,500 Con Edison union workers locked out by the company on July 1,
said the two sides were still far apart.

"Nothing has changed. Things are still grim," Melia told Reuters. In addition to health care costs and wages, one of the major sticking points is the company's insistence that defined benefit pensions be changed to a 401(k) type of retirement
savings account.

A spokeswoman at Con Edison, Sara Banda, said it was too early to say how the talks were going since they were still
ongoing.

Meanwhile, a heat wave continued to bake the Big Apple for a third day in a row and replacement crews made up mostly of Con Edison managers sweated in the heat as New Yorkers cranked up their air conditioners, straining parts of the grid.

Temperatures in New York were expected to reach as high as 92 Fahrenheit (33 Celsius) on Friday, 98 F on Saturday and 90 F on Sunday before returning to more normal levels in the mid-80s
next week, according to AccuWeather.com.

On Wednesday, Con Edison reduced voltage by 5 percent in several Brooklyn neighborhoods to protect the overall system and maintain service as crews fixed lines feeding power to the communities.

On Thursday, the company reduced voltage in additional Brooklyn neighborhoods and in some Bronx neighborhoods.

The company said the replacement crews had made some repairs but were still working on feeder cables in the affected
neighborhoods.

The voltage reductions remained in place Friday afternoon.

Air conditioning doesn't lose power in a voltage reduction, but incandescent lights, hot water heaters and some motors are slightly affected.

The reductions were the first since the company locked out the union workers after contract talks broke down.

Con Edison said the voltage reductions were unrelated to the lockout, noting the company had reduced the voltage in parts of Brooklyn and Queens during a heat wave before the lockout in June.

But the union said the voltage reductions were a sign that Con Edison could not keep the system running without the union workers. "If something goes wrong, Con Edison will not be able to respond in a timely manner, endangering all New Yorkers," the union's Melia said.

WORKERS INJURED

The union has claimed the replacement workers were suffering injuries due to their inexperience.

Four replacement workers have been injured since the lockout began but none of the injuries was life threatening, according to Con Edison.

One worker suffered second-degree burns on his face, another had a suspected heart attack while off duty, a third had minor burns on his hand, and the fourth suffered partial hearing loss after an air horn was blasted in his ear.

The company said many managers in the field came up from the union ranks and were experienced in fixing the cables to keep the system running.

So far, voltage reductions were relatively minor, and only 134 customers were without power Friday afternoon -- out of the 3.2 million homes and businesses Con Edison serves in New York City and Westchester County.

The company asked all customers to conserve power during the heat wave but has not told customers in the affected Brooklyn and Bronx neighborhoods to turn off their air conditioners.

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  • Locked-out workers demonstrate outside Consolidated Edison headquarters, in New York, Thursday, July 5, 2012. Consolidated Edison and the union representing its employees are returning to the bargaining table. Talks were scheduled to resume Thursday afternoon, while the picket lines in New York's Union Square grow. Pressure is mounting on both sides to resume negotiations after they failed last weekend. On Thursday, the company put out a full page ad blasting the union. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

  • The son of a locked-out worker holds a sign outside Consolidated Edison headquarters, in New York, Thursday, July 5, 2012. Consolidated Edison and the union representing its employees are returning to the bargaining table. Talks were scheduled to resume Thursday afternoon, while the picket lines in New York's Union Square grow. Pressure is mounting on both sides to resume negotiations after they failed last weekend. On Thursday, the company put out a full page ad blasting the union. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

  • Locked-out workers demonstrate outside Consolidated Edison headquarters, in New York, Thursday, July 5, 2012. Consolidated Edison and the union representing its employees are returning to the bargaining table. Talks were scheduled to resume Thursday afternoon, while the picket lines in New York's Union Square grow. Pressure is mounting on both sides to resume negotiations after they failed last weekend. On Thursday, the company put out a full page ad blasting the union. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

  • Locked-out workers demonstrate outside Consolidated Edison headquarters, in New York, Thursday, July 5, 2012. Consolidated Edison and the union representing its employees are returning to the bargaining table. Talks were scheduled to resume Thursday afternoon, while the picket lines in New York's Union Square grow. Pressure is mounting on both sides to resume negotiations after they failed last weekend. On Thursday, the company put out a full page ad blasting the union. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

  • Locked-out workers demonstrate outside Consolidated Edison headquarters, in New York, Thursday, July 5, 2012. Consolidated Edison and the union representing its employees are returning to the bargaining table. Talks were scheduled to resume Thursday afternoon, while the picket lines in New York's Union Square grow. Pressure is mounting on both sides to resume negotiations after they failed last weekend. On Thursday, the company put out a full page ad blasting the union. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

  • Locked-out workers demonstrate outside Consolidated Edison headquarters, in New York, Thursday, July 5, 2012. Consolidated Edison and the union representing its employees are returning to the bargaining table. Talks were scheduled to resume Thursday afternoon, while the picket lines in New York's Union Square grow. Pressure is mounting on both sides to resume negotiations after they failed last weekend. On Thursday, the company put out a full page ad blasting the union. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

  • A locked-out Consolidated Edison worker and union member rallies co-workers as they picket outside the company's headquarters in New York, Monday, July 2, 2012. Members of Local 1-2 of the Utility Workers of America protested as their leadership plotted its next move following failed contract talks and a lockout. A union spokesman said Harry Farrell, president of Local 1-2 of the Utility Workers of America, on Monday will call for federal mediators to intervene to get talks started again. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

  • Consolidated Edison distribution mechanic Lacey Craft uses a Con Edison traffic cone as a megaphone as he rallies workers during a picket outside the company's headquarters in New York, Monday, July 2, 2012 as managers entered the building. Members of Local 1-2 of the Utility Workers of America protested as their leadership plotted its next move following failed contract talks and a lockout. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

  • Consolidated Edison mechanic John Lucchini gets locked-out coworkers to react as they picketed outside the company's headquarters in New York, Monday, July 2, 2012. Members of Local 1-2 of the Utility Workers of America protested as their leadership plotted its next move following failed contract talks and a lockout. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

  • Locked out Consolidated Edison workers, including distribution mechanic Lacey Craft, center, react as managers left company's headquarters for a lunch break in New York, Monday, July 2, 2012. Members of Local 1-2 of the Utility Workers of America protested across the city as their leadership plotted its next move following failed contract talks and a lockout. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

  • Locked out Consolidated Edison workers shout out as company managers enter or leave the company headquarters in New York, Monday, July 2, 2012. Members of Local 1-2 of the Utility Workers of America picketed and protested noisily as their leadership plotted its next move following failed contract talks and a lockout. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

  • Consolidated Edison workers gather in front of a Con Ed building in New York, Monday, July 2, 2012. Unionized workers with Consolidated Edison in New York City will be picketing as their leadership plots their next move following failed contract talks and a lockout. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)