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PSEG-LI president doubles down on commitment to have outages restored Sunday, even as outage map tells a different story

With tens of thousands of outages remaining across Long Island, confusion persists on when exactly PSEG-Long Island will restore power to all of its customers in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Isaias.

It’s not even clear how many homes and businesses still need to have their power turned back on.

In a media conference call Sunday evening, PSEG-LI president Dan Eichorn said only 29,000 outages from the storm remain across the island, even as his utility’s online outage map continues to show about 64,500 customers in the dark. He said some of the outages included in the map are not related to the “initial storm.”

Pressed by several questions from a pair of Newsday reporters, Mr. Eichorn cast some doubt on the accuracy of the online number, but never clarified how exactly it’s inaccurate or shared another figure he considered more precise. 

“It’s a dynamic number,” he said in attempting to explain the large discrepancy in the number publicly available for all 1.1 million of PSEG-LI’s customers and the considerably smaller figure being shared with the media and attributed to Isaias. 

Mr. Eichorn said that whether the outage is tied to the storm or not, the goal remains to have it fixed by a previously suggested midnight timeline now just hours away.

“We are looking to include them in that commitment,” Mr. Eichorn said of the outages not being attributed to the storm.

There are currently about 800 outages across Southold and Riverhead towns, with the final repairs estimated to be completed by 11 a.m. Tuesday, according to the outage map. No local outages are estimated to be repaired by tonight.

There are 560 active outages in Riverhead Town and 237 in Southold. Those customers are spread out across most hamlets in the two local towns. Wading River, Calverton and Southold hamlet have the most local outages.

PSEG is facing mounting scrutiny, including upcoming state hearings to review the utility’s failings during the storm and a likely investigation from the state’s public service commission and its attorney general.

Asked about the outages Sunday, Mr. Eichorn said “we did a very good job of preparing for it, but our communication was not up to our expectations.

“We know that created a lot of angst,” he conceded.

Mr. Eichorn said he believes any outside agency that launches an inquiry into the utility’s restoration efforts will find it did a satisfactory job.”

New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie announced the joint legislative hearing — which is not limited to just PSEG-LI and includes other utilities as well — Sunday morning. It will evaluate the utilities’ preparation and response to the storm outages and related issues, the officials said in a statement announcing the hearings. 

PSEG-Long Island said it added more than 1,000 new line workers Sunday, using out of state crews. There are now 5,600 workers in the field, the utility reported.