11/14/12 8:10am
11/14/2012 8:10 AM

SAMANTHA BRIX FILE PHOTO | Long Island Power Authority Chief Operating Officer Michael Hervey, right, at a press conference in Hicksville last year.

With 8,500 active outages still remaining on Long Island 16 days after Superstorm Sandy struck the North Fork, Long Island Power Authority Chief Operating Officer Michael Hervey has tendered his resignation. Just 64 of those outages are on the North Fork.

LIPA Board Chairman Howard Steinberg offered the following statement Tuesday:

“Today, Mike Hervey, tendered his resignation as Chief Operating Officer of the Long Island Power Authority, to be effective at the end of the year. On behalf of the Board of Trustees I have accepted his resignation, with regret.

Mike has provided 12 years of valuable service to LIPA, including taking on the responsibility to perform the functions of CEO of the organization over the past two years. Mike has played a leadership role in connection with the planned structural changes at LIPA going forward which will result in better service and accountability to LIPA’s customers in the years ahead.”

We want to know what our readers think of the decision by Mr. Hervey to resign. Will it make a difference? What kind of additional changes do you think are needed at LIPA?

11/12/12 10:20am
11/12/2012 10:20 AM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Houses on Dunlookin Lane in Jamesport were without power a week after the storm.

LIPA restored power to more than 100 customers on the North Fork Sunday, but 117 outages still remain on the North Fork two weeks after Superstorm Sandy struck, according to LIPA’s most recent outage numbers.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced Sunday that power had been restored to more than 99 percent of Suffolk County residents.

“Despite the massive failure of leadership at LIPA Headquarters, we have restored power in Suffolk County thanks to the dedicated men and women on the ground who have been working 16 to 18 hour days to get the job done,” Mr. Bellone said in a statement.  ”By working with the front line workers, we have expedited turning the lights on by making sure the resources needed to restore the power remain here in Suffolk County.  While I am deeply disappointed in LIPA’s leadership, I have been overwhelmed as I have witnessed firsthand the dedication and commitment of the workers in the streets and in the substations as I have met and talked with them over the last several days and I want to thank them for their efforts on behalf of all County residents.”

Of the remaining outages on the North Fork, 82 are in Southold Town and 35 are in Riverhead.

Southold hamlet, with 26 active outages, is the local neighborhood with the most remaining outages. There are still 24 outages in Mattituck.

Most of Riverhead Town’s remaining outages are in Calverton.

While LIPA has taken down its original interactive outage map after customers complained it was inaccurate, the total number of outages can still be viewed by clicking here.


11/11/12 10:00am
11/11/2012 10:00 AM

KATIE COE COURTESY PHOTO | A downed power line in Mattituck Oct. 29, the day Superstorm Sandy struck the North Fork.

LIPA officials announced Saturday that they will have completed restoration to 98 percent of customers who lost power during Superstorm Sandy by Tuesday afternoon.

That’s 15 days after the storm hit and that does not include outages in areas like Long Beach and the Rockaways, where restoration is not yet possible..

Here on the North Fork, 220 LIPA customers were still without power as of 9 a.m. Sunday — 159 in Riverhead and 61 in Southold. The two towns have the fewest remaining outages on Long Island.

While LIPA has taken down its original interactive outage map after customers complained it was inaccurate, the total number of outages can still be viewed by clicking here.

You can read LIPA’s Saturday update below:

Power Restored to 93% of Long Island Electric System

38,000 outages due to LIPA system damage remain in Nassau County
28,000 outages due to LIPA system damage remain in Suffolk County
99% of those who are able to receive power to be restored by end of Tuesday
Over 1 million customer outages restored

A workforce of 15,000 lineman, field and support personnel restored power to 84,000 customers in the past 24 hours, bringing 93% of the Long Island electric system on-line. In flood impacted areas, LIPA has repaired and where possible, energized the power. However, while there is power in the neighborhoods, severe damage to the homes themselves prevents the homeowner from connecting to the electric grid. Local officials and LIPA estimate 55,000 could be powered, however if the damage to the homes is too severe and repairs to home or an inspection must be completed before the house can be reconnected to the grid. On Long Island the bulk of these are in Island Park, Oceanside and the East Rockaway area, with smaller pockets in other south shore communities.

In Nassau, 250 surveyors are out in the field, with teams of technicians and electric servicemen following closely behind to re-energize those premises that are found to be safe. Those areas include Bellmore, Massapequa, Massapequa Park, Merrick, Seaford, Wantagh, Baldwin, Baldwin Harbor, East Rockaway, Island Park, Lynbrook, and Oceanside.

Up to 500 additional linemen are arriving on Long Island today and will supplement the already 9,600 linemen and tree trim crews that are working to bring power back to all remaining customers who are able to receive power safely.

Restoration in the Rockaways
LIPA is continuing to restore the electric “backbone” in the Rockaway Peninsula.

Power Restored to:

  • Sewage Treatment facility Beach Channel Dr. and Beach 108th St.
  • Scholar’s Academy School Beach 104th St
  • 3 MTA rectifier stations
  • St John’s Episcopal Hospital
  • Arverne by The Sea Residential Development (High ground)
  • Bezalel nursing home on Far Rockaway Blvd whose generator had failed (averting the patients from being evacuated)
  • 4 NYCHA Hammells Housing buildings without generation to normal supply
  • NYCHA building at 71-15 Beach Channel Drive – off generator to normal supply
  • 101st NYPD precinct building
  • Wavecrest Building complex

Progress continues on the following facilities:

  • NYCHA buildings Bch 51st St complex – working closely with NYCHA to help them safely progress repairs to their facilities.
  • Dayton Towers West – repairing LIPA underground facilities to support restoration of service.
  • Ocean Promenade Nursing Home-repairing LIPA service and mainline feed in preparation to energize today.
  • McClean Nursing – repairing LIPA service and mainline feed in preparation to energize today.
  • Far Rockaway Underground Network – finalizing restoration of LIPA underground network to support energizing Far Rockaway substation feeders today.

Restoration in Long Beach
LIPA and National Grid continue to make significant process in restoring power back to Long Beach with expectation that 90% of the people able to receive power will be restored today.

Restoration Highlights include:

  • Energizing Long Beach City Hall
  • Energizing Long Beach sewage treatment plant
  • Continue work along Shore road to energize the area
11/10/12 1:25pm
11/10/2012 1:25 PM

“We are done dealing with LIPA Headquarters,” County Executive Steve Bellone declared Saturday, joining a chorus of state and local officials from Governor Cuomo on down who have decried LIPA’s slow pace in fully restoring power in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and the nor’easter that followed it this month.

Mr. Bellone said he had “cut ties with LIPA headquarters and has begun directing local assets to expedite restoring power.”

He made the declaration in announcing that he would hold a press conference on the issue at 2 p.m. Saturday at the parking lot of the LIPA-National Grid office in Brentwood.

TIM KELLY FILE PHOTO | Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone became the latest public official to speak out against LIPA’s response to Hurricane Sandy today.

11/08/12 10:36am
11/08/2012 10:36 AM
LIPA, Sandy, Reeves Park, Riverhead, Long Island

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Roberta’s house in Reeves Park is the only property in the neighborhood still without electricity after Sandy, she says.

By now, a lot of people have their electricity back in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

I got mine back Tuesday, and when you first get your power back it seems, to you at least, that Sandy is no longer a problem.

But there are many without power. And in some cases, it doesn’t seem to make sense why some houses have power and some don’t, or why fate chose the people it chose to leave in the dark.

Such is the case with Roberta. She lives in Reeves Park and still had no power as of Wednesday afternoon, though she says everyone else in her neighborhood does.

Even without electricity, Roberta, who didn’t want her full name used, has her hands full.

Her 87-year-old mother, a stroke victim, is paralyzed on one side and can’t get around by herself. Her 13-year son has Down’s syndrome. And Roberta doesn’t drive.

When LIPA repairmen came around over the weekend to restore electricity to the rest of her neighborhood, they told Roberta they couldn’t restore hers because the tree that had fallen on her house, pulling power lines down with it, had also crushed the electric meter box.

LIPA told Roberta she would have to get a private electrician to fix the box before they could come back and reconnect the power lines to her house. She had the box fixed, but getting LIPA back to restore the wires wasn’t proving too easy.

“I asked when they were coming back and they didn’t have an answer,” she recalled. “I said, ‘But you told me I had to have all this work done and you would come back.’ And now it’s getting cold.”

On Monday, a neighbor took them to stay at her house.

Roberta said her mother and son are both “out of their routine” and are constantly asking when they’re going home.

A few years ago, I guess, it could have been me grappling with a similar situation.

I had a brother with Down’s syndrome, and my mother was old and had “small strokes” that made it tough for her to get around or communicate. We took it a few steps further, too. We also had an even older father who was perfectly healthy but loved to get mad about things like this and the psychotic dog, which allegedly bit a guy who then sued us for $2 million.

And sometimes, the Down’s syndrome brother would open the gate and let the psychotic dog out of the house, which gave my father something else to get mad about, and I’d have to try to catch the dog before it attacked somebody.

But that was then. Now, it’s just me.

My other brother, who lives nearby, was mentioning the other day that it’s a good thing we didn’t have this kind of storm and power outage back then. There was Hurricane Gloria, but that happened in mid-September when it was warmer — and in 1985, when all those people were younger.

Something like this, in the cold, would be much harder.

As Roberta is discovering.

She has since found that she couldn’t even get LIPA on the phone anymore.

On Monday, the neighbor, who also didn’t want her name use, decided to contact the media. She contacted us. I went down there.

At first, I thought maybe she was calling the wrong numbers at LIPA. So I called the number I had just called the day before, since my power was out too, and, like Roberta, it seemed like everyone else in my neighborhood had gotten power back already.

No dice. Once you’ve made a report, an answering machine tells you they have the report, and it hangs up on you.

So I tried calling the LIPA public relations people. Certainly, they wouldn’t be the ones to come down and fix the power, but sometimes a little press attention will get some action.

The LIPA spokesperson, Karen Ryan, looked into the situation and eventually called back. She said a LIPA crew could be at Roberta’s house at an “estimated time” of 9 a.m. on Wednesday.

Of course, on Wednesday, a Nor’easter, and more outages, were forecast. Roberta asked if they could make it Tuesday. The LIPA spokesperson said there are thousands of people in the same situation, and that there were other homes in Reeves Park without power and that Wednesday 9 a.m. estimate was the best they could do.

So Roberta took it.

I drove by Roberta’s house on Wednesday morning at about 10:30 a.m. and again at 1 p.m. The wires were still sitting on the ground, and the new storm was getting stronger. She was still without power today.

LIPA needs to assign a unit to answer calls such as Roberta’s.


11/01/12 12:56pm
11/01/2012 12:56 PM
Jamesport, North Fork, Hurricane Sandy, Long Island

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Houses on Dunlookin Lane in Jamesport are without power and many have flooded-out basements.

Riverhead residents still without power from Hurricane Sandy will be facing a weekend of near-freezing temperatures, according to weather reports.

There’s a gas shortage to boot, so generators may soon be quieting down as well.

So staying warm may be a problem for many in the coming days.

Temperates will remain 40 and above into Friday — reaching 57 today — but the National Weather Service is predicting temperatures will drop into the 30s Saturday and Sunday, with a predicted low of 37 degrees on both days.

Riverhead Town will operate a warming station for residents to seek shelter between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the Riverhead Senior Center on Shade Tree Lane in Aquebogue.
For more information, call the Senior Center at 631-722-4444.

Kathleen Burke and her husband, Tom, of Laurel said this week that they’re grateful they have a fire place, even though they’ve been without power.

“We haven’t had to use the fireplace yet,” Ms. Burke said, “but things are about to turn.”

According to the LIPA outages map as of about noon, 6,772 customers were without power in Riverhead Town, with another 821 customers out in Flanders and 834 in Riverside/Northampton in Southampton Town.

Some 278, 000 LIPA customers out of the 619,00 in Suffolk County remain affected by the storm.

LIPA is urging all residents to report assumed downed power lines are live, and to report them (800) 490-0075.

On Thursday morning, both Jonathan Shipman of Shamrock Tree Company said they couldn’t spare a second to talk as they worked to chop up downed trees in Laurel.

For those with generators, the gasoline shortage in Riverhead may prove worrisome.

Staffers at Lighthouse Marina, located at 229 Meeting House Creek Road in Aquebogue, said unlike some marinas east of them, Larry’s Lighthouse did not sustain any damage to the docks during the storm, and that the marina has both regular gasoline and diesel fuel for boats.

The marina is willing to fill up gas cans for generators, if needed.



11/01/12 7:48am

PETER BOODY PHOTO | LIPA trucks arriving on Shelter Island Monday morning. LIPA said Wednesday evening that an additional 1,969 utility personnel are on way to Long Island to assist in the restoration effort.

When Tropical Storm Irene struck the North Fork 14 months ago, Tom and Kathleen Burke only lost power for six hours, even as the neighbors on both sides of their home on Bray Avenue in Laurel had to struggle through a blackout that lasted several days.

The Burkes were lucky then. Not so much now.

Two days after Hurricane Sandy struck the North Fork, the couple spent Wednesday morning at a table inside Wendy’s Deli in Mattituck. They were close to hitting 48 hours without power and they weren’t alone.

Sandy brought record outages to Long Island, where more than 900,000 customers were powerless at the storm’s peak and LIPA has warned that some customers will not be able to turn their lights on until late next week.

“The damage caused to Long Island’s electric system has been devastating,” LIPA officials said in a statement issued Tuesday afternoon.

The impact has certainly been felt on the North Fork. As of Wednesday morning, more than 15,000 LIPA customers in Southold and Riverhead towns were still in the dark, most of them having lost their power sometime Monday afternoon.

The Burkes said the lights went out at their house around 5 p.m. Monday. Wendy’s owner Wendy Zuhoski said her deli has been packed with area residents looking for hot coffee, fresh food and a place to plug their lives back in.

“This is civilization,” Mr. Burke remarked. A civilization seeking lights and Internet.

At Panera Bread in Riverhead more than a half-dozen folks had turned their breakfast tables into workstations Wednesday. Some said they had power in their homes but not phone or Internet. Others, like Calverton resident Dennis Anderson, just needed a charge.

“I need to be able to communicate with my family,” he said as he sat quietly at his table, occasionally checking the battery life on his iPad and iPhone. Mr. Anderson was coming off a good run in which he was able to go more than 40 hours without charging either device after losing power around 3 p.m. Monday. With 3,436 outages as of Wednesday, Calverton was the North Fork hamlet with the most LIPA customers still in the dark.

A teacher at Suffolk Community College’s Eastern Campus in Riverhead, he said he’s been spending his days catching up on reading.

Kathy Chamberlain of Mattituck said she’s also been keeping sane by reading since losing cable but not power Monday afternoon. A self-proclaimed news junkie, she’s also been keeping tabs on the storm via Internet by listening to talk radio and following blogs.

It hasn’t been so bad she said, except for the cold shock her feet got Wednesday morning when she went to take a shower.

“I forgot I had filled the tub with water,” she said with a laugh.

Ms. Burke said she also filled her tub and was grateful to learn later that Waldbaum’s in Mattituck was selling bags of chopped ice and gallons of spring water for 99 cents in the days following the storm.

As of Wednesday morning, more than 2,500 LIPA customers in the Mattituck-Laurel area remained powerless.

“It’s the whole neighborhood,” Ms. Burke said.