Living in the dark
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You would be hard pressed to find residents who feel more abandoned by LIPA than those who live in Salisbury, which is just northeast of East Meadow and has less than one-third its population. More than 1,000 Salisbury residents had endured two weeks without electricity.
Resident Jeffrey Rosenking, an East Meadow School District Board of Education trustee, said his home lacked power for eight days last year after Tropical Storm Irene. “We’re 4,000 homes, we’re 12,000 residents, and we feel neglected,” said Rosenking, adding that he had a downed utility pole in his backyard that LIPA had not responded to.
“When something happens and you don’t know about it the first time, that’s an accident. This is no longer an accident,” said Mindy Perlish, who also lives in Salisbury and is a vice president of the Community Association of Stewart Avenue. “We went from LILCO to LIPA, and that was supposed to be an improvement. But it just seems to have gotten worse. We’re paying higher rates and we’re getting less service.”
On Tuesday, with approximately 4,700 customers still without power in the Town of Hempstead, LIPA posted on its website: “To our valued customers still without power as a result of Hurricane Sandy, in the aftermath of this catastrophic and devastating event, we recognize how difficult it has been to be without electricity for a long period of time. Please know that we are working hard to restore your power every day and won’t rest until everyone’s lights are on, and our communities and families are back to normal. Thank you for your patience.”
As the Herald went to press, the lights were finally coming back on in East Meadow and Salisbury. But after one to two weeks without power — and with some customers still counting the days — LIPA’s response, or lack of it, had left a very bitter taste in residents’ mouths.
“For several days, East Meadow felt abandoned,” said McKevitt. “We were clearly left to the end to be restored. And that’s not acceptable.”