As we approach Day 6 after Tropical Storm Isaias, we still have over 25,000 Con Edison customers out in Westchester (according to Con Ed’s outage map). Con Edison has projected to have power restored by 11PM tomorrow (Monday), but we will wait for confirmation of that fact. I’m as angry and frustrated as many of you, and have been on the phone with Con Ed officials all week pressing for faster restoration and better information.
For those in my district who are serviced by NYSEG, I have found them far more forthcoming and effective in both operations and communications. Yes, restoration has taken too long, but NYSEG officials have been responsive and quicker than Con Ed and hopefully the vast majority of customers are restored by tonight.
I also have been pressing Altice USA, which acquired the Optimum brand, which has been absolutely irresponsible during this period. Not only are thousands of our neighbors without phone and internet, the company has been unavailable, non-communicative with local residents and elected officials, and uncoordinated with Con Edison in their response.
For better news, I am pleased that the Senate and Assembly will have hearings on the response to this storm, and we will consider both utility and phone and internet service providers in this hearing. I believe that the lessons learned from Sandy and subsequent weather events have been ignored here, and customers – who should be the number one priority – have been greatly ignored. I intend to continue to press for power and service restorations, and then for significant changes in the way these companies operate. I also intend to challenge the NY Public Service Commission, which is charged with regulating some of these monopolies. Their oversight has been woefully inadequate and must change.
As always, if you need our help (we try to push for restorations as much as possible), email me at email@example.com; or call my office at (914) 934-5250.
Shelley B. Mayer