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Negotiations break down, Con Ed workers dismissed

FILE- In this July 24, 2006 file photo, a Consolidated Edison crew checks a service box in the Queens borough of New York as they work to restore power during the eighth day of the blackout in the area. Consolidated Edison and its unionized workers are facing a midnight, July 1, 2012, deadline as their contract negotiations continue. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg, File)

NEW YORK (AP) -- Consolidated Edison is closing walk-in centers, suspending meter readings and limiting work on major construction projects now that contract negotiations between the utility and its unionized workers have broken down.

The breakdown comes as New York braces for more extremely hot weather that will increase demand for air conditioning. Con Ed says it is keeping a close watch on its system and has trained managers working on essential operations.

A union spokesman says workers had told the company they'd be willing to work without a contract until an agreement is reached to keep the power company running.

Con Ed wanted to extend the current contract, with assurance the union would not call a strike without notice.

Negotiations between the Con Ed and Local 1-2 of the Utility Workers of America broke down just before 2 a.m. Sunday.