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LIPA: 95 Percent Done as Week 3 Begins

Utility expects most homes that can receive power to be hooked back up by Tuesday, though thousands in hard hit areas remain in the dark.

Fifteen days after Superstorm Sandy devastated the East Coast, the Long Island Power Authority has announced that it has restored power to 95 percent of customers and it expects to have the remaining thousands without electricity back up and running by Tuesday night.

The utility, whose management has been under fire since Thursday for its communications failures during the recovery as well as its level of preparation before the monster storm hit, said the estimates do not include 17,500 customers in Nassau and Suffolk and 37,500 customers in the Rockaways whose homes are too damaged to safely receive power.

Remaining outages are highest in Nassau County, 37,161 — mostly in the Town of Hempstead — compared to Suffolk's 9,542. Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone is taking some of the credit for his county's restoration after he decided to sidestep LIPA's management, which he called useless, and work directly with the substations.

By Sunday night, 99 percent of Suffolk customers had been restored. LIPA also sidestepped its own electrical inspection guidelines, allowing outside electricians to inspect damaged homes to speed up the process. With most of Suffolk restored, the utility is now sending its surveyors to the hardest hit areas in Nassau.

"Survey teams are conducting visual assessments of homes and businesses within flooded areas along the south shore. In general, these areas are south of Atlantic Avenue, Merrick Road, and Montauk Highway," LIPA said.

In Levittown, for example, 1,859 customers are still without power as of Monday morning, a situation they've endured going on three weeks.

Tempers over LIPA's handling of the storm recovery escalated this past Thursday, when winter storm Athena coated the region in snow and knocked power out tens of thousands, many who had just had their lights turned back on.

Across social media and in countless e-mails to Patch editors, weary customers are demanding accountability from the utility, and speak of a lack of communication that from their perspective borders on cruel.

"Zero preparedness, lack of tangible communication, outright lies to the families all over LI," St. James resident Jim Gelles told Patch in an email this weekend. "Day 13 – I'm watching a crew finally fix the wires. Tomorrow it will be Day 14 for another family – that's the story, and all the failures that created this."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week also called the utility's response a failure, and chided management for its poor oversight, which included running out of electric poles early in the recovery process.

Story by Henry Powderly

Suzanne November 12, 2012 at 11:03 PM
How can LIPA claim 95 percent restoration "except" for 17,500 in Nassau County? Interesting math.
Suzanne November 12, 2012 at 11:04 PM
With all due respect Supervisor Kaiman where have you been? Where is the outrage? I understand only the utilities have the ability to restore power (and I find it condescending of you to remind us of that) but is it not YOUR responsibility to advocate for our town? Isn't your name on a short list to take over LIPA? Perhaps that is why we haven't seen or heard from you? Maybe as you remind your constituents you are unable to restore power I should remind you that it is your responsibility to advocate for the people you represent. Unfortunately I live in Salem (Port Washington) and not in an incorporated village where their representatives fight for their constituents. This is the 15th night our family with 3 small children will be in the dark.
Suzanne November 12, 2012 at 11:05 PM
I posted the above comment on The Town of North Hempsted Facebook page where it was removed and I have been blocked from the site.
bthebest November 12, 2012 at 11:45 PM
Does Cuomo think that the residents of Long Island are deaf dumb and blind? Today on a News 12 segment a reporter asked him if he had heard that LIPA was giving the out of town workers a hard time because they are not in their union, Cuomo's response was"we had over 5000 out of state people helping LIPA and I have not heard ANYTHING like that!" Lies? I have several neighbors that spoke directly to those out of town workers, one from Louisiana, Texas, etc. They all said that we need to wake up because they were not allowed to do anything until a LIPA employee showed up. Some sat in their trucks for hours and days doing nothing! One stated that when a lipa employee showed up he told the guys that "you are not in our union and you can not work here!" Are we making this up? I think not, but why isn't it being reported? Why is there such a big coverup? I have heard several stories like this today, and ironically I happen to catch Cuomo on News 12 saying "I haven't heard anything like that." The other story that a resident reported was that the out of town workers were not allowed to come here until they agreed to work for LIPA union wages which are obviously more than what these workers are use to making. The resident then said "well at least you will be making more money here?" His response was "we don't see the higher wage our bosses get it!"
bthebest November 12, 2012 at 11:45 PM
LIPA customers get ready to PAY for Sandy, as if we haven't already!!!!! Also: Demand that these stories are heard, because this is the real reason why LIPA couldn't get 840,000 residents up and running in three times as long as Chris Christie got 1.8 million up (in 7 days!).
bthebest November 12, 2012 at 11:50 PM
Kaiman is about as corrupt, if not more, than LIPA! Put him in charge and the residents of Long Island are really in trouble. The fact that you were blocked from the site is enough confirmation of how corrupt the system is! Thanks for posting.
Terry November 13, 2012 at 01:25 AM
yes, i guess doctors and nurses dont care about the sick either, they are just there for a check too. Eliminate all the hospitals! Matt the brain surgeon will do everything for everyone because HE cares and wants no money,
Terry November 13, 2012 at 01:27 AM
Chris Christie did it? Then your anger lies with Cuomo not LIPA, he didn't get it done.
bthebest November 13, 2012 at 02:51 AM
Lipa & Cuomo....one in the same!
George Melton November 13, 2012 at 02:55 AM
I own a shop in Seaford, The home owners south of Merrick Road have nothing. I don't see any mention of this. I do see alot of prople walking around with clipboards. Nobody want s to give any info out.
Marie November 13, 2012 at 03:53 AM
Underground service isnt always the answer either. If you lose service, chances are you will be out of service longer. Its not just the trees and with underground service it is harder to find where the fault is. Overhead you can look and see where the problem is.
Jim November 13, 2012 at 07:02 AM
They should make LIPA pay for hotel rooms for the people without power. But they'll just pass it along to the consumers. You cant win with these people. I see asplundt trucks out trimming trees in Hampton Bays, but I have not seen a Lipa truck since the storm hit. Where are they?
Ken Konrad November 13, 2012 at 07:39 AM
One bright note: I was driving home from cleaning out my sister in law's flooded house and took Long Beach Road northbound. On the right side, three trucks and crews were restoring primary lines. I waved at one of the guys in a bucket truck and he waved back. Then I noticed that the trucks were from Joplin, MO. That was the town that was nearly wiped off the map by a tornado. Give those visiting guys some applause. Then I got to my home on Center Lane and saw my porch light on! Ken
Amy November 13, 2012 at 09:48 AM
This is bs. I still dont have power in syosset since the beginning of the hurricane. These numbers and promises are all lies. "Where possible we will restore customers that have been without power the longest first". Yeah ok lipa.
Seadog24 November 13, 2012 at 11:29 AM
Thats why they should be UNION. That happened right here in NYC also . Interesting that all the workers were Chinese and did not speak much English and found themselves working for a Non Union piece of crap (not that all non union shops are bad) These people were being exploited. We got the unions involved and the workers got an education. Union shops pay the wage to the worker...
MJM November 13, 2012 at 12:17 PM
Suzanne, I feel for you. I live across the Boulevard from you and thanks to guys from Syracuse, we got our power back last night. I hope they head to you next! But you are 100% right about Kaiman. He's been photo-opping in a neon work jacket -- indoors! -- but generally keeping out of sight. I guess he can't jeopardize his chances for a new LIPA job. Well, God help us if he heads up LIPA because we know how useless and unresponsive he's been as the head of TNH.
Patricia Sweeney November 13, 2012 at 12:29 PM
I live in an individual home on Richard Place that has been without power since 5PM the day of the storm. Tremendous trees fell on our front lawn, live wires, all blocking our entrance out of our home. LIPA still has not come to our home. I was told numerous times that since my home is an individual home without power on a block that did not lose power at all, I will most likely have a long wait until LIPA comes to our home. Since I do not live south of Merrick Road, we did not experience the horrific flooding. However, the high winds did considerable damage to our home when the large trees fell, hit my home, and uplifted my driveway and front lawn, littering it with live wires, and knocking out power. However, I continue stay focused on those that have lost so much more, and I think of them throughout this entire experience.
susan November 13, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Please help me get the word out on this: Got this information from a friend in AR: To All My Long Island Friends .... ANYONE who truly cannot afford to have a "hurricane tree" removed from their property can call Shepherd's Heart Disaster Response Ministry. They drove all the way from AL (and Milwaukee) to help. They will remove your tree for FREE. The cell# is 205-296-3714 . PLEASE get the word out... they are literally driving around looking for people to help!
pbug56 November 13, 2012 at 07:14 PM
After Irene, it took 5 days before an Indiana lineman was sent to our neighborhood - it also took him just minutes to get our power up, by replacing a blown fuse in the system. A big part of the problem is that LIPA has no remote monitoring of its lines and feeds, and no way to tell without detailed local visits what is actually wrong.
Scott L. November 13, 2012 at 08:46 PM
I am probably going to catch some heat for this but here I go. In May of 1998 the government of New York aquired LILCO at a severely discounted price and put in place a “non profit” organization called LIPA which was being run by a man named Richard Kessel. We all should remember what they promised us: BETTER, STRONGER, FASTER and CHEAPER. We all know what that got us, same s__t with less communication. Now let’s take a stroll down memory lane, Hurricane Gloria. Gloria, a category three hurricane hit Long Island with winds of 95 mph, wind gusts reached 115 mph, in eastern Long Island MacArthur Airport recorded a wind gust of 84 mph and lasted 48 hours. Gloria's high winds left 683,000 people in New York without power, with some lacking electricity for over eleven days. I remember this storm like it happened last month due to the fact that I was a volunteer with the LILCO families. I also remember being in the front parking lot of LILCO distributing dry ice (paid for by LILCO) to anyone who needed it. This storm LIPA had the landscapers on the front lawn on the Tuesday after the storm raking leaves. I also remember a large volunteer force helping clean up branches and debris in areas that where deemed safe. My point is that William Catacosinos (former CEO of LILCO) was a fatcat who until the very end was stuffing his pockets but the reaction time to restore power was better than anything LIPA has shown us and they cared about the people or at least pretended to.
Scott L. November 13, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Continuation from above I grew up in a house that when a storm was predicted my father (now 84) would go to bed until the phone would ring and out the door he went for three days or until the job was done. We all may hate LIPA but we put them there.
Mike November 13, 2012 at 08:56 PM
Its amazing how many people complain when they don't know the extent or severity of the problems. This was a very serious hurricane with very high winds and 13 foot surges, 90 percent of long island was out, about 950,000 customers. I have never seen so many trees snapped midway from high winds. I can not believe how many wimpy sunken chested people are in the world, wipe your runny noses, you are not entitled to anything, buy a generator and be ready next time
Scott L. November 13, 2012 at 09:39 PM
They are now in Central New Jersey and wont be back here until after the new year!!!
debi November 13, 2012 at 09:46 PM
Ken I feel the out of town people are more up to date then LIPA. we should take a look at how they run there utility company and how they are prepared for hurricanes,and major storms. we need to fire the executives and bring in another company to run our utility company. Debi
mark fuhrer November 14, 2012 at 03:18 AM
check out this song about LIPA. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bl2ONUsok0c
Ken Konrad November 14, 2012 at 09:45 AM
Debi, My mail carrier told me that he had spoken to many out of town linemen, (he too had no power), and all were dumbfounded to see the antique equipment on our poles. It was comparable to poles, lines and transformers they had replaced back in the 1930s. So it's going to take a lot of big bucks and time to catch up to the 21st century. Ken
J..... K...... November 14, 2012 at 02:09 PM
95% of about 1 million outages is 950,000. The number sounds about right, there was just under 1 million out right. But are they still not counting the rockaways and long beach?
J..... K...... November 14, 2012 at 02:10 PM
Just to let you know, not defending them, just a bystander!
J..... K...... November 14, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Wasn't Gloria in 85?
Scott L. November 14, 2012 at 05:56 PM
J..... K......, Yes it was September 27, 1985, sorry I forgot to mention the date. The point I was trying to make was that LIPA took over LILCO in 98. LILCO management was a bunch of crooks but they where the crooks we knew. Anything the government gets involved in seems to wind up like LIPA, when it makes the politicians look good things start getting done. LIPA also did nothing to reach out and help the community.

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