Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano today joined with Federal, State and local officials in urging the Federal government to oversee LIPA power restoration in Nassau County. Joined by United States Congressmen Peter King and Steve Israel, State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray and Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto, County Executive Mangano stated that Long Island’s power is past the point of crisis and is on the abyss of changing the lives of tens of thousands of citizens.
“Over the last 11 days, I have spent much time with individuals whose voices are not being heard but whose cries for help are defining the extent of our region’s anguish and pain. I have seen the pain of a single mom in Island Park who is still without power and an Oceanside grandmother who still hasn’t seen a LIPA truck. I met a family in a Uniondale shelter who doesn’t know when they will return home and a family in a Merrick warming shelter wondering how they will return to a 44 degree home,” stated County Executive Mangano. “To put it into terms that Washington can readily understand, LIPA’s power is at Defcon Two. The power condition is beyond urgent. The Federal government must shake up and wake up LIPA to get the power turned on.”
Since Hurricane Sandy hit Long Island shores 11 days ago, LIPA has demonstrated an inability to communicate with residents on how and when they will get the power restored. Every resident who is without power is also without information. While LIPA linesmen have been working day and night to restore power, it’s clear that LIPA management has once again fallen down on the job. Governor Cuomo was 100% right – LIPA and National Grid must be held accountable like never before.
County Executive Mangano requested that the Federal government send every resource at their disposal to help get the power back on. This approach makes sense as the defense logistics agency has come to the assistance of many municipalities throughout the nation.
The time is now for FEMA to harness all of the Federal government's resources, including the full use of the Department of Energy's Federal Power Act section 202(c) emergency authority and the technical assistance and expertise of the Army Corps of Engineers, along with pumps, generators, and debris removal assistance, to restore power. Long Island needs Federal partners to develop a clear restoration plan and communications structure, to be strictly adhered to by LIPA, to provide families and seniors with the information they deserve and finally restore their power.
Congressman Peter P. King, Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, stated, “LIPA’s performance following Hurricane Sandy has been completely abysmal. It has been nearly 2 weeks since the storm; the LIPA-led status quo has clearly failed the residents of Long Island who remain in the dark and in the cold. Congressman Israel and I are calling on President Obama to ensure that Federal agencies do everything possible to dramatically improve the pace of power restoration as well as the flow of information to customers who deserve to have their normal lives restored.”
“LIPA has proven that they cannot be trusted to get Long Islanders’ power back on James Lee Witt came in and fixed the federal response to both Katrina and Rita when no one else could,” said Congressman Steve Israel. “He is someone who actually knows how to get the lights on and the fuel flowing. This morning, I asked him if he could come to New York, go into LIPA, and get results.”
“Almost two weeks after Hurricane Sandy, LIPA customers are still in the dark with LIPA power lines and communications lines still down,” stated Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray. “A combination of constantly changing policies, poor communications and management void has left hundreds of thousands of customers with little clear information on LIPA's power restoration plan and even less of an idea when they may expect power restored. It's time for LIPA to tell customers the truth, be accountable and restore power, now!”
Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto stated, “The lack of communication between LIPA and its rate payers, the very people to whom they are beholden, has been incredulous since Sandy hit our area. The residents of the Town of Oyster Bay have been through enough. They are frustrated and confused by the constant posting and then changing of the rules on a seemingly daily basis. LIPA has consistently demonstrated a complete lack of preparedness, a lack of assuming whole responsibility for the restoration of their power grid, and a lack of being able to provide answers. Our residents and their customers deserve better. In light of all this, the time has come that there is a need for the kind of assistance that the County Executive is requesting.”