Long Island Without Power Into Week Two, Freezing LIPA Customers Describe Post-Storm Chaos
Long Islanders are still in dire straits after the surprise arrival of Sandy, and two weeks after she made landfall, LIPA has failed to restore power to many desperate residents in anything resembling a timely fashion.
Long Island has been without power in many places for going on 14 days, and the double wallop of flooding and power loss has stricken a devastating blow as winter begins to set in for the region.
Many here on Long Island remain without power, heat, hot showers or light Monday – 76,000 as reported by CBS News. (Other sources put that number at 136,936, a significantly higher portion of homes on Long Island that remain unrestored.)
Judging by the Facebook posts of friends in my area (Southwestern Suffolk County), the situation may be more dire than anyone truly realizes, as locals bounce from house to house and temperatures drop near freezing some nights. Assessing damage has taken a backseat for many to finding a warm place to bathe and sleep, concerns Long Islanders have been struggling to meet since Sandy hit.
But not everyone has a place to go, and Marilyn Cashdan of Baldwin Harbor told CBS that her family has resorted to hope and layering as LIPA trudges through the mess with no word on when residents can expect a reprieve:
“We sleep with insulated underwear, sweatpants, sweatshirts and three quilt covers … No one cares about us.”
Denise Watson of Hicksville related a similar battle, echoing many Long Islanders in wondering exactly what contingency plans LIPA had in place for what, despite catastrophic flooding, was a storm that didn’t make landfall as a hurricane:
“I never thought I’d live like this … Do you mean to tell me that a multibillion-dollar operation such as LIPA didn’t have any preparation for this? It’s a disgrace.”
Watson made her remarks during a phone interview outside her home, where she was forced to sit in the car to power her device.
In a November 9 letter to President Obama, Long Island Republican Peter King implored the federal government to step in and said that “LIPA management is clearly incapable of completing the vital task of restoring power” to Long Island residents.