Power outages approach two-week mark
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After asking LIPA how many outages still exist in her district, which includes East Meadow, Salisbury, North Merrick and North Bellmore, the legislator said she was told that she would receive a phone call this afternoon -- she has yet to receive it.
Additionally, Gonsalves said public officials were given a special phone number to LIPA to receive updates. But as of Thursday, she said that number is no longer functional.
“This is not tolerable. I empathize with my residents in my district and in my neighborhood," she said. “LIPA management has failed. This is a major storm, but at this point in time, if they had the crews they say they had, a lot more should be done.”
Assemblyman Tom McKevitt said he has been making calls to his constituents all week long, and has been unable to receive any response from LIPA as to when power will be restored to his district. “I cant find any rhyme or reason," said the assemblyman, adding that he finally got power restored to his East Meadow home on Wednesday night. "Every day we give specific complaints to LIPA and we don’t get anything.”
McKevitt said his chief of staff has supplied LIPA with a daily list of complaints, but has received zero responses. “LIPA is not giving me any information about when we're getting [power] back and I'm just trying to help people out as much as possible."
The assemblyman added that he had been making personal visits to his constituents, but due to the volume of phone calls he is receiving, he is no longer physically possible of doing so. "Frustration was last week," said McKevitt. "I am beyond angry at this point.”
One of his constituents, said McKevitt, was told by LIPA to expect power back around Nov. 17, and the assemblyman said that was the only instance where he has heard a specific time frame.
Town Councilman Gary Hudes, a Levittown native who represents East Meadow, said he has been sitting on regular conference calls between LIPA officials and elected officials.
During a Wednesday conference call, Hudes said he told LIPA's Chief Operating Officer Michael Hervey that East Meadow "was fortunate to have not been impacted as bad as the South Shore, but since it’s not a water issue, it’s a wind and tree issue, why cant we be up to speed? Why are we still without power in so many areas in my district? It makes no sense."
Hudes said he was told by LIPA officials that 1,200 hundred additional crews would be coming to Long Island on Friday.
"As elected officials, we are having trouble getting answers," said Hudes, adding that he has been working nearly around the clock to respond to his constituents. “People are suffering. It’s deplorable conditions.”
The councilman added that LIPA has compounded the frustration by continually putting inaccurate restoration timetables on its website. “It’s building people up and then dousing their expectations, which I think is cruel," he said.
Hudes credited the LIPA workers who are doing their job fixing utility poles. "Those people are working very hard when they are told what to do, which makes it a management problem," he said. "I don’t think they are given the direction the way they should.”
In his last email to the power authority, he said, he demanded LIPA to provide more attention to his district. “This is the largest township in the U.S., and yet we’re being treated like a third world country.”
Any additional power lines that were knocked down in Wednesday's Nor'Easter should be reported to LIPA immediately at (800) 490-0075 or (631) 755-6900.