WESTFAIR ONLINE: UTILITIES PLEDGE BETTER COMMUNICATION IN STORM AFTERMATH

 

     

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    Power restoration delays experienced by thousands of Hudson Valley residents following Tropical Storm Irene and the Halloween weekend snowstorm were largely the result of communications breakdowns and a lack of manpower, according to the region’s utilities providers.

    Representatives from Con Edison, New York State Electric and Gas, and Central Hudson Gas and Electric were joined by several municipal officials at a Dec. 8 roundtable discussion in Yorktown hosted by Republican state Sen. Greg Ball.

    The three providers said they collectively brought in thousands of workers from as far as Kansas, Texas, Florida and Wisconsin to assist with cleanup efforts in the aftermath of both storms, but in many cases it wasn’t enough to restore power as quickly as many consumers had hoped for.

    “I don’t think any of the utilities have enough resources to respond to all the reports of wires down,” said Anthony Torpy, director of emergency management for Con Edison.

    The tropical storm and snowstorm were the worst and third-worst in terms of the number of outages, respectively, in Con Edison’s history.

    Similarly, NYSEG spokesman James Salmon said that for the company’s coverage region, which includes the Hudson Valley, 1,200 power lines came down during Irene and 4,000 came down in the subsequent snowstorm – creating “unprecedented” difficulties.

    Those at the discussion said one of the biggest challenges faced by the utilities and by emergency workers during both storms was the length of time it sometimes took to determine whether downed wires were still live or were movable.

    The utilities’ representatives said for future storms, they would try to ensure that more municipalities had a representative onsite to act as liaison between emergency workers and work crews. (ARTICLE)