While life has gotten back to "normal" for many lucky New Yorkers, the impact of Hurricane Sandy is still very much a daily, draining reality for tens out thousands of residents living in the dark. Although utility companies were hoping to have power restored almost fully by last night, Con Ed confirmed last night that 22,000 customers in parts of Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island are unable to receive electricity because of damage to their homes and businesses. And it's going to take a while before the flow of juice can resume to these unfortunate customers.
Individual circuit lines and breaker boxes in damaged homes have to be fixed one by one, an obviously time-consuming undertaking. "You have to go house to house to house to house," U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said yesterday during her visit to hurricane-ravaged Staten Island. And after the individual repairs are made, each property has to be inspected by a licensed electrician, and this could take weeks.
The same power stalemate is gripping the Rockaways, where LIPA says 37,500 customers with damaged homes and businesses are still without power. In an attempt to expedite the process, last week Mayor Bloomberg announced a "New York City Rapid Repairs" program which would enable contractors and city inspectors to work on multiple buildings at once and not just one house at a time.
At a meeting in the Rockaways last night, a LIPA rep assured powerless local residents that "as soon as we receive confirmation that your house can be restored, we will restore it within a very short period of time." According to the Times, one woman immediately yelled out, "Your nose is growing."
Tempers are also boiling over in Brighton Beach and Sheepshead Bay, where there are still widespread power outages. When news of a mobile Con Ed unit reached resident Lawrence Kimel, he marched straight over to ask the workers when he could expect to have electricity back. But instead of a straight answer, he says a female Con Ed rep hit on him. "I've been without power 11 days," Kimel tells DNAinfo. "They asked me 'am I single.' They think it's a joke." At least he can turn something on?
And the owner of a yoga studio on Ocean Parkway who has last 200 customers because of a lack of electricity says Con Ed has been completely unresponsive—the last communication she received from the utility was an automated text message that told her her bill for the month came to $278.42. "They failed," Governor Cuomo said during a blistering attack on local utilities last week. "They failed. The utility companies failed."