Mayors criticize PSEG storm response

Rose Weldon
PSEG Long Island is being criticized by public officials for their perceived ineffective response to Tropical Storm Isaias. (Photo courtesy of PSEG)

Mayors on the North Shore are joining their counterparts at the town, county and state level in criticizing PSEG Long Island for lack of effective response to lost electricity, fallen power lines and downed trees due to Tropical Storm Isaias.

East Hills Mayor Michael Koblenz expressed his frustration in an email to his village. Approxamitely 1,455 PSEG customers were affected in East Hills, with 223 outages reported.

“While there has been a partial restoration of some areas of the village, PSE&G’s response to Hurricane Isaias has been completely deficient,” Koblenz said. “I have been talking with PSE&G’s management and other governmental leaders to have our power restored at the earliest point in time. Some have said that Saturday is a possible objective, but we can hardly rely on these projections because PSE&G is in such disarray.”

Koblenz added that the Park at East Hills, including the pool, tennis courts and dog park, will be closed “until further notice.”

Westward in Flower Hill, 817 PSEG customers were affected, and 234 outages were reported. Mayor Brian Herrington wrote in a letter to his residents that he was “frustrated” with the company’s response.

“Like you, I am frustrated with PSEG’s response and the fact that restoration times have been pushed back,” Herrington wrote. “I would encourage everyone to prepare for restoration times to take longer than PSEG has communicated, possibly even taking into the weekend in some cases. As we continue to get more definitive information we will update you on power restoration. I have been in touch with [County Executive Laura Curran], the Town of North Hempstead and our local mayors, and we will continue to advocate on our residents behalf.”

Herrington added that the village has arranged for a contractor to pick up downed tree branches and limbs, which residents could left at their curb, and that Village Hall did have power, encouraging residents to “cool off or charge their electronics” there.

Over 5,200 PSEG customers were affected in the Great Neck villages. Kensington Mayor Susan Lopartin said in an email to her village’s residents that PSEG was “unable to clarify the timeline any further.”

“Many homes in the village lost power, and I’ve been speaking with PSEG routinely to obtain information about restoration,” Lopatkin said. “My municipal contact at PSEG has told me that they expect power to be fully restored at the latest within a week, but hopefully sooner.  Unfortunately, PSEG is unable to clarify the timeline any further with respect to the Village of Kensington. I will of course continue to work with PSEG to expedite the restoration.”

Koblenz later announced that he authored a letter to State Senators Jim Gaughran (D-Northport), Anna Kaplan (D-Great Neck), Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach), Kevin Thomas (D-Levittown), and John Brooks (D-Seaford) supporting their efforts into launching an investigation into PSEG and other utilities that were not effective during the storm, and offered to testify.

“We have no doubt that unfortunately extreme weather will occur repeatedly in the future,” Koblenz said. “Our utility must be able to respond to emergencies rapidly and effectively. PSE&G was ill-prepared and ill-equipped to respond to the current challenge.”

PSEG estimates that power will return to the North Shore at staggered times on Friday.

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