Out­age out­rage

Gov launches probe as thou­sands left in dark


Gov. Cuomo was hardly blown away by the work of lo­cal util­i­ties dur­ing Tropical Storm Isaias.

The gov­er­nor or­dered an in­ves­ti­ga­tion Wed­nes­day af­ter hun­dreds of thou­sands of New York­ers were left with­out power one day ear­lier when the storm rolled through the re­gion. The state Pub­lic Ser­vice Depart­ment will lead the probe into Ver­i­zon, PSEG Long Is­land, Con Edi­son, Cen­tral Hud­son Gas& Elec­tric, Or­ange and Rock­land Util­i­ties, and New York State Elec­tric & Gas over their per­for­mance.

“The reck­less dis­re­gard by util­ity com­pa­nies to ad­e­quately plan for Tropical Storm Isaias left tens of thou­sands of cus­tomers in the dark, lit­er­ally and fig­u­ra­tively,” the gov­er­nor said in a news re­lease. “Their per­for­mance was un-ac­cept­able.”

Some 287,000 Long Is­land cus­tomers re­mained in the dark Wed­nes­day as util­ity work­ers scram­bled to get the lights back on af­ter the de­par­ture of storm.

Roughly one in ev­ery four cus­tomers in Nas­sau and Suf­folk coun­ties were still lack­ing power de­spite the ef­forts of PSEG Long Is­land in the wake of the storm’s deadly winds and pound­ing rains a day ear­lier. The com­pany, in a state­ment to its 1.1 mil­lion cus­tomers, said it was work­ing dili­gently to turn the power back on across the sub­urbs.

“We’ve re­stored power to more than 220,000 cus­tomers + de­ployed more than 2,000 crews be­fore the storm be­gan,” said PSEG in a tweet. “Crews were im­me­di­ately avail­able to start restora­tion yes­ter­day af­ter­noon. Thank you for your pa­tience as both in-house + con­trac­tors crews work around the clock.”

There were still more than 700,000 power out­ages statewide, in­clud­ing more than 90,000 in Westch­ester County, 42,000 in Queens and more than 22,000 in the Bronx. Cuomo de­clared a state of emer­gency for 11 coun­ties, in­clud­ing the five bor­oughs, Long Is­land, Westch­ester and Rock­land, to as­sist lo­cal gov­ern­ments in the post­storm cleanups.

“Con Edi­son’s been ter­ri­ble. Not good at all,” groused con­trac­tor Mike Te­naglia, 50, of Mid­dle Vil­lage, Queens. “A truck was here be­fore, guy said he’s ‘as­sess­ing the dam­age,’ but I don’t see cherry pick­ers, any of that. They’re just look­ing at trees.”

Long Is­land’s state sen­a­tors echoed Cuomo’s anger over the util­ity’s per­for­mance, send­ing a let­ter urg­ing At­tor­ney Gen­eral Leti­tia James to in­ves­ti­gate PSEG.

“PSEG dropped the ball on tonight’s storm re­sponse,” said Sen. Jim Gaugh­ran, a Demo­crat. “I tried them for my­self fol­low­ing des­per­ate con­stituent calls for help. I now have con­stituents stuck — amid a pandemic and the sum­mer heat — lit­er­ally in the dark. This is dis­grace­ful. … Tonight was PSEG’s first ma­jor test since they took over run­ning our sys­tem — and they un­equiv­o­cally failed.”

Fall­ing trees wreaked havoc across the re­gion Tues­day, with Metropoli­tan Trans­porta­tion Au­thor­ity Chair­man Pa­trick Foye not­ing more than 2,000 fell across the sprawl­ing sys­tem’s train and bus net­work.

“This storm caused se­vere dam­age,” he said Wed­nes­day. “Not since Su­per­storm Sandy has our sys­tem ex­pe­ri­enced this type of wind.”

In New Jersey, an es­ti­mated 1.3 mil­lion homes and busi­nesses were left with­out elec­tric­ity be­fore Isaias blew north out of the re­gion. Of­fi­cials warned some might need to wait days be­fore ser­vice could be re­stored.

Tan­gled wires and downed branches lit­ter street in Mid­dle Vil­lage, Queens, a day af­ter Tropical Storm Isaias whipped through. Hun­dreds of thou­sands re­mained with­out power across the metro area Wed­nes­day.

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