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Powerless – literally and figuratively…

Powerless – literally and figuratively…

It is now fifteen days since Hurricane Sandy hit. It is now fifteen days we have been without power.  Fifteen days is a very long time….

 

Sure, it is difficult to go fifteen days with no electric, no heat, no hot water (especially in New York in November) no television, no internet, no refrigerator, no ability to do laundry…. But that is only part of the problem.  In areas hard hit by the storm, like my town, there is so much clean up and repair work that has to be done to restore our damaged homes.  Having no power hinders that progress, making some work impossible.  In addition, homes, like mine close to the water (and over a stream) require active sump pumps to prevent flooding.  With no power to run them, the use of gas generators is required.  Homes in my development have been relying on these generators, solely to run sump pumps since the storm hit – this just adds to the gas crisis hitting the state.

 

But being in the literal dark wouldn’t be that bad if you felt that your situation was getting proper attention or that you were getting clear and precise information regarding your situation.  That way, you can plan accordingly.  But being in the dark about when (or if) power will be restored is unacceptable, I think.

 

Electric in my area is controlled by LIPA (the subject of many angry people).  The service, communication and misunderstanding they are providing is beyond unacceptable, in my opinion.  Last week we learned that in order to have your electric restored in certain areas, including the one I live in, you needed to be certified by a licensed electrician.  When questioned further we were told that wasn’t the case. Instead an electric certification company had to certify you.  Last Thursday we arranged for this type of company to visit the forty-eight homes in my development.  They checked us out and we passed.  However, before they could finish the work, and prepare the documents, they were told by LIPA that LIPA wouldn’t accept the certification.  All certifications had to be done by the village building inspector.

 

This man, assisted by another gentleman has to go home to home and certify that your electric boxes weren’t compromised.   He started on Friday and as of last night, only a small fraction of homes were turned on.  He has to follow a map given to him by LIPA.

 

Marc and I know the building inspector very well.  He is a wonderful and hardworking man.  He has been tireless in this task, but he is only human.  How can two people certify an entire town?  How can he be expected to certify an entire town when he has a damaged and destroyed town to rebuild? 

 

Try contacting LIPA?  They give you links to their website.  Seriously?  We have been without power for fifteen days.  Marc and I personally have been out of work for almost two weeks.  How are we supposed to check websites for information?  We conserve our phone batteries like they are precious commodities (which they are) when we are home.  When we are at our offices and have the ability to utilize the web we can’t because we have to focus on our jobs….

 

I managed to get a DM on twitter from a LIPA representative last night.  He told me that the information that was given to us on Thursday (requiring us to be inspected by the village was incorrect).  So we could have received power a week ago?  Misinformation seems to be a common issue… Everyone I speak to seems to be getting conflicting information from LIPA.   No one knows how to act and tempers are rising as temperatures dip lower.

 

I understand the need to check homes to make sure that they are able to accept electric.  I understand that if power is turned on in an unsafe home there is a chance of a fire, which would be further devastating.  However, many homes like mine the electric panel wasn’t comprised thus would be safe.  In other towns, like where my brother –in-law lives (and where we evacuated to) they had major flooding.  Their power was restored a week and a half ago, no inspections needed and no questions asked.  How is that possible?  When I asked LIPA yesterday as part of my DM correspondence on Twitter guess how they replied?  Correct – they didn’t!

 

LIPA is trying to show the public that is slamming them on conventional and social media that they are actively working on solving the electric issues.  They update their outage maps to show how many people were restored and how many people are still affected. However, what they don’t advertise is the fact that their numbers aren’t accurate.  For example on the outage map last night I saw that my town had twenty-one outages.  My development alone has forty-eight homes, not to mention the rest of the village.  When I asked LIPA about this as part of my DM correspondence they chose to ignore my question as well….

 

At this point, I don’t know when to expect electric, and it is very frustrating.  I could cope better with the situation if I felt we were getting complete and honest information as well as if it appeared that the proper resources were made available to restore the homes of so many people hard hit by Sandy….

44 thoughts on “Powerless – literally and figuratively…

  1. What a miserable, ridiculous mess, Hilary. I’m so sorry this still continues.

    I often think how the actual utility workers are out there round the clock, working so hard…wonder how they, as employees, are being dealt with by the company’s admin. Not well, I would guess. ;-(

    A crappy deal for everyone concerned.

    1. Fuzzy tales – From what I heard from co-workers who dealt with visiting utility workers (one girl had her home restored by a crew from canada and another from CA) both crews told them that they weren’t given clear information of what to do where. Worse they weren’t given GPS to get to NY – they were driving with paper maps and markers. many don’t have housing – sleeping in their trucks… On the news I heard of a man who was helping from FL. He went for dinner and was beat up by angry residents on Friday… very sad….

  2. What a terrible unbelievable mess this is for you. At this rate you’ll be lucky to have power by next year. I know I wouldn’t be able to cope with something like this. Good time to take a vacation to a warmer climate.

    1. Amber – it is very hard to deal with but we don’t have much choice…. I would love to head to FL and see my mom but after missing 2 weeks of work, I have to be there…

  3. Unacceptable!! This is ridiculous! LIPA needs to get their act together. Don’t they have a plan in case of emergencies? Didn’t the learn anything during 9-11? I am appalled!!!!!

  4. I can only imagine the level of your frustration. I am so sorry this mess has affected your life for so long. Sounds to me all LIPA is doing is giving everyone the run around because they were ill prepared for this kind of storm. But doesn’t that sound familiar? My thoughts and prayers are with you during this and I hope the confusion about the certification clears up soon. That whole run around is ridiculous, but sounds oh so typical.

    1. Denise – I agree.. I think they are making it up as they go along to buy time. they were clearly not prepared for this and sadly the residents of NY are suffering. We are lucky, we are young and healthy but there are so many sick and elderly people around (not to mention infants). They shouldnt have to deal with this..

  5. It is time to contact you state senator and legislator – pronto. Copy this blog and send. Send to you US Senator and Congressman.
    LIPA should not be able to get away with this.

    1. Brian – thanks… it is nuts already… fortunately my neighbors got turned on last night so we slept there… lipa sure = idiots!

  6. Oh Hillary, I am so sorry you are still without power. When I heard the news yesterday that all but 200,000 homes have their power restored, I was sure hoping yours was one of them. How frustrating. Is there anything I can do to help you and Mark? *hugs*

    1. Karen – thanks.. your support & hugs helps… sadly when Lipa gives their numbers they aren’t counting everyone. They are only counting the people that they claim are able to accept electric. Although I am able to, but haven’t been accepted by Lipa, I am not in their numbers… got to love their accounting!

  7. This is terrible! It’s ridiculous you have to jump through so many loopholes. Lipa should have an emergency plan that works for the cost not a whole lot of baloney and loopholes. This makes me very angry! Grrr.

  8. I am so so sorry. We had a huge outage here this summer and AEP faced the same issues. Though I think their communication might have been better. I thought to myself that to be fair, the president of the company should have to go without power until the rest of us were up and running. Seemed fair to me. And to require the TOWN building inspector to do it – that is just stupid. We hope that you get some resolution (and some electricity) soon.

    1. Random – I agree… they all should have to deal with what the people they are trying to help are dealing with… very sad…

  9. Hillary
    I know that you won’t be able to read this but I am so so so sorry that you are going through all of this.
    I will continue to pray that you will soon have your power restored so you can begin your process of repairing any damages.
    Keeping you in prayer

    purrs
    >^,,^<
    ✿•*¨`*•. ♥Abby♥Boo♥Ping♥Jinx♥Grace♥✿•*¨`*•.

    1. Abby – thanks so much… I spent the night with a neighbor who was restored so I saw this… thanks for your prayers..> I never thought I would dream for electric!

  10. I am so sorry to hear all the trouble you are having. Although I went through plenty of hurricanes, including Katrina (I lived in Baton Rouge), I never experienced 15 days without power! I really hope your power returns soon. Wish I could magically send power your way!I’m thinking about you and really hope things get better soonl

    1. Cecilia – I didnt know you lived in baton rouge during Katrina… I am sorry. I wish you could magically send power too. that was my birthday wish 🙁

  11. Unbelievable !!!!! We wish there was something we could do.
    We agree that it is time to complain to another source.
    Start with the mayor and keep going!
    It is getting late and colder. This needs to be resolved soon.
    Thinking about you lots! The kitties too.
    Purrs Tillie and Georgia,
    Tiger,Treasure,JJ and Julie

    1. Tillie and Georgia – Just you visiting me is doing enough….thankfully power was restored yesterday so we have electric (too bad the hot water heater and heating system broke from the salt water)

  12. This is so, so terrible. It saddens us (and makes us furious!) to know that you are being forced to endure this whole mess because of LIPA’s miscommunication and ineptitude. We will keep on purring and praying. Please let us all know if there are things we can do to help, if even in small ways!

    1. Meowmeowmans – thanks… but I am not alone… so many people were in the same boat…. LIPA really let so many of their customers down

    1. Judy – I am not surprised that your news is not featuring us much… sad how news forgets people and moves on to the next big story…it is funny / sad… In NY some areas were very hard hit and others not so much. I think those not so much areas have forgotten too…

    1. BB – I heart you… thanks again… fortunately your good vibes worked and we got electric yesterday AM. Now we just need a new heating system and hot water heater – salt water really does a number!

    1. William – so agree…. I believe the head resigned or was fired. All I know is he is gone. My brother-in-law (also was without power for 18 days) saw in the NY Times that prior to the storm Lipa had a meeting and only devoted 5 minutes to storm recovery… pathetic!

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