Hundreds of thousands of customers across New York City, Long Island, the lower Hudson Valley, and New Jersey remain without power a day after Tropical Storm Isaias—and some are being told it will take days, perhaps even more than a week, to get their power back on.
As of 5:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Con Edison said, "The crews have already restored power to more than 119,000 customers affected by the storm, which caused enormous damage in the short time it was in the area... The restoration will continue around the clock until the remaining approximately 187,000 customers have their service back."
Crews have restored power to more than 30,000 Westchester County customers and are working on the remaining 96,000 customers; In Queens, more than 21,000 customers have gotten service back with about 43,000 still out; In Brooklyn, crews have restored about 26,000 customers with about 5,600 remaining out; In Staten Island, the company has restored more than 35,000 customers with about 18,000 still out. In the Bronx, crews have restored 5,300 customers and 24,500 are out of service.
"Isaias’s destruction surpassed Hurricane Irene’s, which caused 204,000 customer outages in August 2011," Con Edison said in a press release. "The record for storm-related outages is 1.1 million caused by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012."
Assemblymember Jeffrey Dinowitz was furious at Con Ed's response in his district in the Bronx. "As rumors abound that power may not be restored for 7-10 days in some cases, Con Edison’s only response is that people with medical equipment needs should contact the NYPD or try to be admitted to a hospital," he said in a press statement.
"This is an absurd contingency plan that fails to acknowledge the reality of our current circumstances," Dinowitz continued. "We are still in the midst of a deadly pandemic, and Con Edison wants their utility customers to go into a hospital because they weren’t prepared for a storm everyone saw coming? We have more shootings in New York than we have had in several decades, and Con Edison wants people to call the police because they haven’t come up with their own solution for people with medical needs? This is not a response; it is a deflection and Con Edison needs to take responsibility for their failures."
A 2013 study from NYC Office of Sustainability during the Bloomberg administration found that it would cost Con Edison $42.9 billion to bury its power lines in New York City and Westchester County, or $18.5 billion for just New York City.
Rockland County Executive Ed Day said, "We all must prepare for the worst," saying there was "major damage" to Orange and Rockland Utilities' transmission infrastructure. "O&R made clear on the call that this will be a multi-day event and it is possible that residents will be without power here for as much as a week," he added.
And in a Tuesday email to constituents, the mayor of Larchmont said power might not be back until some time between Saturday and Tuesday."The local Con Ed staffing is insufficient for an outage of this magnitude and severity of damage and they have called in crews from other states and regions. Some will be arriving today, many not until tomorrow."
Nassau County executive Laura Curran said 126,480 residents are still without power at her 6 p.m. briefing Wednesday. Suffolk County has 158,930 reported outages on the PSEG-LI map. Restoration is projected for Friday for most of the PSEG customer map.
But the 55,061 outages in the town of Hempstead is showing a resolution date of September 3rd:
New Jersey was also hit hard by the storm, with the state utilities regulator telling NJ.com that power might not be back until the weekend. "New Jersey got literally whacked and it really left its mark through the entire state,” state Board of Public Utilities President Joseph L. Fiordaliso said.
NJ.com reported, "As of noon on Wednesday, more than 930,000 people were still in the dark, and state and utility officials had no clear answer as to when the power might be back. At the governor’s daily briefing, officials said they expected 80 percent of customers to have power back by sometime Friday, but the rest could take far longer."
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency in addition to "direct[ing[ Department of Public Service to launch an investigation into the responses by Verizon, PSEG Long Island, Con Edison, Central Hudson Gas & Electric, Orange and Rockland Utilities, and New York State Electric & Gas to determine the causes of their failures," his office said in a press release.