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A Push To Restore Power

County executive, town supervisors say LIPA needs to move faster to re-energize communities along the South Shore.

“Turn the power back on now.”

That was the simple, but direct message offered by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone Thursday during a press conference at Babylon Town Hall.

Joined by supervisors from Babylon, Brookhaven and Islip towns as well as other elected officials, the county executive outlined a plan he said should expedite the restoration of power to homeowners living in flood zones but that have not sustained flood damage.

“We will be working with LIPA and embedding folks with their teams in a coordinated fashion to identify those homes that are safe to get these areas back on line,” he said. “We now have direct contact with the substations.”

This new coordinated effort driven by elected officials puts an end to LIPA’s requirement that homeowners in flood zones impacted by Hurricane Sandy need to have inspections complete before power is restored.

According to Bellone, there are thousands of homes throughout Babylon, Brookhaven and Islip within the Category 1 Flood Zone that did not sustain flood damage and are safe to be re-energized. Those homes that sustained flood damage cannot have power safely restored until a certified electrician makes repairs, he said.

For those still without power, officials ask that residents turn off their circuit breaker boxes until their neighborhood is re-energized. This will alleviate the danger of house fires. Fire department personnel, however, will be on the ready to tackle any fires that may occur, officials said.

While recognizing the potential safety risk involved as power returns, Bellone said the bigger concern is the cold temperatures now impacting Long Island. He noted that some residents without power are using barbecues, kerosene heaters or other unsafe methods to warm their homes, further increasing the danger of fires or carbon monoxide poisoning.

“We understand the safety risks, but I’m not going to have an elderly person die in their home (because of the cold) on my watch,” said Richard Schaffer, Babylon Town Supervisor.

Another area of frustration for officials has been communication within LIPA. Islip Supervisor Tom Croci said that following LIPA’s edict that homes in the Category 1 Flood Zone needed official clearance to be re-energized, Islip inspected 8,500 homes over a four-day period, with about 80 percent deemed safe for power restoration.

That information was provided to LIPA but those homes have yet to have their power restored, Croci said.

Nino November 09, 2012 at 10:34 AM
Cant even get a quality sweeping of streets. Cant supervise menial staff. Cant get catch basins cleaned, cant get garbage collectors from throwing pails about and placed upside down to blow debris about and they are going to coodinate efforts with LIFA?????? Can tget a low branch cut without 5 employess to review the hanging branch and a tree supervisors approval,just incompetence throughout. We wont get this straightened out with interference from incompetent town services. Doesnt the 3 public advocates answering phones at town hall tell you people are and have been complaining to no avail? Dont they tell you they dont respond to calls nor emails from irate homeowners because the person you have there dont have an answer to much at all, nor pass the complaint on,,,,,, Oh, forgot there someones relative or pal too....... The town has never lifted a finger but I smell federal funds availability so lets all get involved now to get some of the money as it becomes available.but these offices of emergency management throughout Long Island are a joke and they are as clueless as a broken flashlight. Cronyism is the cause of all these problems, get that straight.....
Janet Reeves November 09, 2012 at 11:30 AM
Totally false, Helen. Christie commented on this several days ago. No one was turned away.
J Fed November 09, 2012 at 11:31 AM
I found it odd that I never really heard or saw Bellone on the news throughout Sandy or the nor'easter.
Tricia November 10, 2012 at 10:00 AM
Alabama and georgia workers all working in our communities. Making us all smile with their kind ways.
Tricia November 10, 2012 at 10:04 AM
The Feds have lots of trailers for families like ones in Katrina, why aren't our officials yelling for those? Please call gillibrand, schaefer,Bellone, etc to get job done!

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